Metro Manila, with its urban blight notwithstanding, is an intriguing and exciting tropical metropolis for many foreign tourists. As a proof of its growing popularity, it received 41 international cruise ships port calls Last year and brought in 58,828 passengers.
Moreover, the megacity was featured in a 48-hour travelogue by London-based Independent newspaper, and was named as among the world’s 10 Fastest-Emerging Global Cities by The World Post.
Cognizant of these tourism gains, local governments and private stakeholders in the National Capital Region are converging for the second Metro Manila Tourism Forum (MMTF) set on Aug. 30-31 at The Blue Leaf Filipinas in Aseana City, Parañaque City.
Themed “City Tourism: Rebuilding a Local Destination to a Global Brand”, the confab will be participated in by local government executives, tourism council officers, and industry frontliners.
Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat will keynote the event, which is organized by the International School for Sustainable Tourism (ISST), and supported by the DOT and the Automobile Association Philippines.
According to ISST president Mina Gabor, this year’s forum will focus on redefining city tourism as an international icon not just showcasing the destinations, but also opening economic opportunities for the local and international markets.
The confab opens with the Empower The Leaders plenary led by Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo, with House of Representatives tourism committee chair Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, environmental advocate Gina Lopez, and public works and highways secretary Mark Villar as speakers.
The second plenary is themed “Engage the Culture and Community” with Clickable Vietnam CEO Jason Lusk as keynote, and talks on “Unity in Community” by Platinum Fireworks President Joel Sta. Ana, “Culture, Heritage, Arts, Craftsmanship and Entertainment” by Walk This Way Tour president Carlos Celdran, “Tourism is Everybody’s Business” by Leisure and Resorts World Corp. CEO and president Reynaldo Bantug, and “Pinoy Urban Gastronomy” by celebrity chef Bruce Lim.
Maria Youngsin Lim of Imagine Peace (Korea) will keynote the third plenary session, followed by inputs on “City Branding Campaign” by Mondelez International Marketing Director Pamela Takai, “Social Media Ambassadors” by Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet, and “Thinking Global: A New Perspective” by businessman and Iron Man Race Philippines chairman Wilfred Steven Uytengsu.
The Forum concludes with the presentations of the DOT NCR regional director Cynthia Lazo and the individual LGUs on their tourism products and services.
The Parañaque City Government led by Mayor Erwin Olivares is hosting the two-day meet to showcase its world-class business and leisure districts, as well as its rich cultural heritage.
MMTF is supported by Globe Telecoms, Philam Life, Solaire Resort and Casino and Philippine Airlines.
Words and Photos by Bernard Supetran