MANILA–Tourism officials of the Philippines and Thailand have renewed a 23-year-old tourism cooperation agreement during the official visit of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to Bangkok this week.
Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) Secretary Wanda Teo and Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MOTS) Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul signed the Implementing Program of Tourism Cooperation 2017 to 2022 at the Santi Maitri Building of the Government House of Thailand on Tuesday.
Philippine Pres. Duterte and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Chan, meanwhile, stood as witnesses.
Teo said the implementing program is rooted in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on tourism cooperation signed in Manila between the Philippines and The Kingdom of Thailand on March 24, 1993.
Under the agreement, officials and staff of both countries 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.
It also allows the Philippines and Thailand to actively encourage their respective local travel agents to develop a joint promotional program that would market destinations in both countries under one tour package.
Teo said this development would also encourage tourism educational institutes in both countries to exchange technical materials, send experts to give lectures and provide information on the opportunities for tourism-related training.
Thailand joins China, Cambodia and Turkey as Philippines’ partners with new tourism cooperation agreements signed within 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.
“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,” she added
Manila-based travel and tour operators, who accompanied Teo’s group, said the shared tourism program could raise the awareness of the Thai market and other international markets about the Philippines destinations.
In 2016, visitor arrivals from Thailand jumped by 8.8 percent at 47, 913 visitors. Thailand accounts for 10 percent of the total arrivals from ASEAN.