MANILA –Philippine Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo has urged her foreign counterparts to make a collective stand to issue “fair” travel advisories to assure that countries dependent on tourism are protected.
Teo made the call during the Tourism Ministerial Meeting in the recently concluded World Tourism Forum (WTF) in Istanbul, Turkey last Saturday on behalf of countries like the Philippines that rely on tourism for revenues.
She stressed the need for tourism leaders to compel the ministries of foreign affairs and embassies to be more “realistic” and “considerate” in the issuance of travel warnings.
The Philippine Secretary explained that small island destinations have been hardly-hit and suffer economically, resulting from either “unnecessary or exaggerated” notices from authorities.
“I call on the Ministers here to have a collective stand on travel advisories, most especially for small island destinations. This is necessary in order to influence the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to rethink the issuance of such notices so we can safeguard the local people who are dependent on tourism,” Teo said in her speech.
Teo previously met with Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avci who echoed and expressed support for Teo’s call.
“If such incidences occur, we will stand together with messages of support. This would be our best response to terrorism,” said Avci.
The governments of the Philippines and Turkey, represented by Teo and Avci, respectively, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Tourism Cooperation to foster better tourism relations between the two countries.
Turkey is the host nation of this year’s edition of the WTF Global meeting where Teo likewise urged the delegates to be pro-active in the face of growing demands of the world’s tourism industry.
Teo noted the importance of promoting new destinations, especially those that have barely been visited; the urgency to improve the travel connectivity to rural and local destinations, service centers, and gateways and hubs; harmonious working relationship between the government and the private sector in formulating tourism policies and programs.
Around 3,000 delegates and 10,000 guests participated in this year’s edition of the WTF, which aims to spur tourism exchange across the globe by bringing together tourism leaders and stakeholders.
Regional meetings are also held three times a year in different cities around the world with the next summits slated to will take place in Qatar, Jordan, India, Russia, Vietnam and the US.