MANILA — The Philippines succeeded in attracting interests of foreign visitors through the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia, which the country hosted from May 21 to 23, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary Gregory L. Domingo said.
Domingo said in a chance interview with the Philippines News Agency (PNA), that holding WEF on East Asia in the country for the very first time “will change a lot of negative perceptions about the Philippines”.
“A lot of them have never been to Philippines. Many of them have been here long ago. They are surprised; positively surprised on what they see here,” Domingo mentioned.
“The quality of people — they are quite sophisticated. Infrastructure is more advanced than what they’ve thought. It’s more modern than they thought, and you can see the way the service are provided, the way how people interact with them, it’s a higher level of sophistication than what they were expecting,” he cited.
He added that many foreign participants have expressed that they want to come back in Philippines with their experience in the regional summit here.
“They will come back here for business, for pleasure,” he said.
The DTI chief also mentioned that after WEF participants witnessed the development of the country’s economy, the Philippines achieved to attract their interests to do business here.
“Seeing is believing. Obviously, there were lot of high level businessmen (and) officials that were here. There were lot of interactions among business people as well as with the government. I think as a result of this, a lot of movements are going in terms of business,” Domingo noted.
He also said holding the WEF East Asia meeting here is an indication that many of WEF members are interested in the Philippines.
WEF on East Asia meeting is one of the international events that Philippines will be holding for the next three years.
Next year, the country will be hosting Asia Pacific Economic Community (APEC) meeting which is larger than the WEF on East Asia.
According to Domingo, there will be about four more international summits here until the term of Aquino administration ends in 2016.
Meanwhile, WEF’s Head of Southeast Asia Sushant Palakurthi Rao said in an e-mail to PNA that the country now holds a “tremendous sense of pride” for hosting a WEF summit.
“By every measure including the quality of participation and the outcomes of the discussions, this year’s meeting was a great success. The economic comeback story of the Philippines is an inspiration as well as the commitment of the leaders across the regions to leveraging the East Asia’s growth for more equitable progress,” he stressed.