MANILA — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is set to reopen its office in Toronto, Canada by 2018, a Tourism official said Tuesday.
DOT Director for Public Affairs and Advocacy Czarina Zara-Loyola made this announcement after the recent visit of Secretary Wanda Teo to Toronto to attend the Philippine Tapestry Gala night as part of the Mabuhay Philippines Festival held last August 22 to 27.
“Soon you will get a good glimpse of the Philippines right here when we reopen the DOT-Toronto office to promote our country’s diverse destinations. Surely this will inspire you to take a flight halfway across the world,” Teo was quoted saying during the event.
The Secretary, meanwhile, encouraged Filipinos living in Canada to “spread the word” about the positive developments in the country.
“This is an opportune time for our kababayans to help spread the word about the good things and positive developments now taking place back home under the leadership of President Duterte. Do find time to visit and bring along a friend to experience the Filipino hospitality,” Teo said.
She also assured Canadians that the Philippines is not just a beautiful place to have fun but also a place to retire and invest.
Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to Canada Petronila Garcia echoed that it is indeed the perfect time to re-establish a DOT office in Canada to take advantage of the growing interest in traveling to the Philippines.
“Canada is a country of immigrants and it recognizes the Filipino’s role in the community. There is a growing curiosity where the Filipinos came from. Also noting that the Philippines as the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia, more Canadian businessmen are also interested in the Philippines,” Garcia said.
During her stay, Teo met with representatives of Canada’s Snowbird Association (CSA), with a 100,000 membership that promotes and facilitates travel during Canada’s winter season.
Teo said having Snowbird members spending up to six months in the Philippines can yield higher tourism revenues for Filipino tourism stakeholders.
Teo, along with embassy officials and Susan del Mundo, head of the Tourism Promotions Board, likewise met with the Flight Centre Canada (FCC) and the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) to collaborate in tourism development programs.
Canada is currently the Philippines’ top foreign source market in the first half of 2017 accounting for 108, 243 arrivals and turning out as one of the markets with highest daily expenditures.
Behind the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Canada hosts the largest Filipino community overseas, where Tagalog ranks the sixth most-spoken language.
More than 700,000 Filipinos reside in Canada. The country’s third largest immigrant group and almost half of whom reside in Toronto while many other Filipinos live in Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Calgary.