With its urban blight notwithstanding, Metro Manila is an intriguing and exciting tropical megalopolis for many Westerners.
As a proof, London-based Independent newspaper recently featured the megacity in a 48-hour swing for global travelers, and in 2014, it was named as among the world’s 10 Fastest-Emerging Global Cities by The World Post.
Add to this the fact that it is hosting the 65th Miss Universe pageant after more than two decades.
It is in this scenario that government and private stakeholders in the National Capital Region is convening the first-ever Metro Manila Tourism Forum (MMTF) to help draw a tourism development framework for the big city.
Set on Feb. 9-10 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, the confab will be participated in by local tourism council officers, local government executives, and tourism front liners.
The event is organized by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), hosted by the Quezon City Government led by Mayor Herbert Bautista, and supported by the Department of Tourism.
It is also supported by the Tourism Promotions Board, Smart Corporation, and the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise and Zone Authority as major sponsors, Philippine Airlines, Philippine Veterans Bank, Petron, and the International School for Sustainable Tourism (ISST), with Philippine Daily Inquirer and Business Mirror as media partners.
Event organizer and AAP Travel president Dr. Mina Gabor said that the MMTF will integrate tourism in the promotion of inclusive and sustainable growth; employment and poverty reduction; resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change; cultural values, diversity and heritage; and peace and security.
Topics include Changing the Tourism Face of City Destinations for a Quality Visitor Experience, Enhancing City Tourism Destinations Competitiveness through Improved Accessibility, and A 360oView: Positioning City Tourism Destinations in the ASEAN and Local Marketplace.
DoT Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo will lead the keynote speakers, along with UNWTO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Xu Jing, The Wallace Business Forum President Peter Wallace, Singapore’s Coordinating Minister for InfrastrBaucture & Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) immediate past President Gregory Duffell.
Other keynote speakers are Homestay Philippines, Inc. President Rose Libongco, TravPax Solutions Pte Ltd. President Dror Maytal, and DoT-NCR Officer-in-Charge Cathy Agustin who will present the best city tour packages.
Gabor said the event is themed “ASEAN: Enhancing City Tourism Destinations towards Sustainable Development” in line with the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) observance of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
Delegates from ASEAN member countries are expected to attend in support of the Philippines’ chairmanship of this year’s ASEAN Summit and 50th anniversary celebration.
A unique political entity composed of 16 cities and one municipality, Metro Manila is an eclectic blend of the old and the new with its colonial-era districts and modern central business districts.
Hosting next year’s MMTF is the City Government of Parañaque, which is home to bayside world-class tourist facilities such as Okada Manila, Solaire Resort and Casino, City of Dreams, Aseana City, and Resorts World Bayside.