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PH, Thailand strengthen tourism cooperation

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The Philippines and Thailand have resolved to revive the 23-year old tourism cooperation agreement during this week’s official visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Bangkok.

Duterte and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Chan witnessed the signing of the Implementing Program of Tourism Cooperation 2017-2022 at the Santi Maitri Building of the Government House of Thailand.

Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and her counterpart, Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MOTS) Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul signed the agreement.

The implementing program is rooted in a Memorandum of Agreement on tourism cooperation signed in Manila between the Philippines and The Kingdom of Thailand on March 24, 1993.

Thailand joins China, Cambodia and Turkey as Philippines’ partners with whom PDOT under Teo forged a tourism cooperation agreement within just nine months of the Duterte administration.

“Philippines’ tourism program may yet gain an added boost with this concrete commitment for tourism cooperation with Thailand as a result of President Duterte’s fruitful official visit in Bangkok this week,” Teo said.

The agreement stipulates, among others, that the two countries shall actively encourage their respective local travel agents to develop a joint promotional program that would market both the Philippines and Thailand destinations in one tour package.

“There is so much we can learn from Thailand in terms of tourism development strategies, noting that it tops south East Asian countries in terms of visitor arrivals,” Teo said.

Manila-based travel and tour operators, who accompanied Teo’s group, said the shared tourism program could strengthen the awareness of international as well as the Thai market about the Philippines destinations.

In 2016, visitor arrivals from Thailand grew by 8.8 percent reaching 47, 913. In addition, Thailand accounts for 10 percent of the total arrivals from ASEAN. Under the agreement, officials and staff of both participants shall visit each country to build their capacity in the areas of tourism development, administration and finance, human resource, marketing and promotions and standards and regulations.

Teo said this development would also encourage tourism educational institutes in both countries to cooperate on exchanging technical materials, sending experts to give lectures and providing information on the opportunities for tourism-related training. ###