Philippines hailed for successfully hosting world tourism summit

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MANILA, Philippines — Leaders of the world tourism body on Friday congratulated the Philippines after successfully hosting the World Travel and Tourism Council’s three-day global summit.

It was the first time the Philippines hosted the World Tourism Conference, which was held at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City from April 20-22.

The WTTC said it registered 1,200 in-person participants consisting of delegates from around the world, government officials and members of the press. They were also 10,000 to attend the international conference via the virtual platform.

This exceeded the estimated number of in-person attendees estimated at only around 600.

Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC, particularly commended the Philippines for embodying the theme of the 21st edition of the World Summit which is “Rediscovering the Journey”. She thanked the country for its contribution to the tourism and travel sector.

“I’m not often at a loss for words, but I am now. Wow! What an incredible peak. We really rediscovered travel,” Simpson said.

Simpson added that the warm hospitality of the Filipinos was for her one of the personal highlights of the event.

“This warmth, this passion, this generosity, this smile. I have not crossed a corridor without being told “Hello!”. It’s incredible. You live it. It’s not a show – it’s really in your DNA,” she said.

The WTTC also said the summit is a “testament that the country’s tourism is well on its feet”.

In his closing remarks, fellow WTTC leader, Chairman Arnold Donald, echoed Simpson’s sentiment, as he also praised the country’s hosting of the summit, billed as “the premier travel and tourism event more influential.

“It was a wonderful global summit and to echo your brand campaign, we certainly had a great time in the Philippines. It is an experience that all Summit delegates can certainly vouch for,” Donald said.

Gloria Guevara, special adviser to the Saudi Ministry of Tourism and former CEO of WTTC, also praised the Philippines saying they “exceeded all our expectations”.

“Thanks to Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat’s leadership before and during the pandemic, the Philippines was successfully repositioned as a destination of choice and she hosted an impactful summit. The Filipino hospitality also made it memorable,” Guevara said.

Historic accommodation

Puyat then thanked everyone who became part of the historic accommodation.

“In line with the spirit of unity and coming together, I would like to thank those of you who wholeheartedly supported this summit. Without our partners and sponsors, this summit would not have been possible. Thank you all for your generosity, encouragement and support,” she said.

The tourism chief said that throughout the tourism event, industry leaders and policymakers made collective efforts to formulate solutions and share best practices.

This was also mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte in his keynote address where he expressed hope that the global gathering would stimulate discussions to address industry concerns about post-pandemic travel.

“We have come a long way during this three-day meeting, as we set out to redefine our industry and encourage the rediscovery of travel in these difficult times. Our shared hopes and dreams for the future are reflected in the policies we have developed and the measures we have put in place to plan and achieve the full recovery of this sector,” Puyat said.

“We also put a lot of effort into discerning the most effective combination of enforcing health and safety guidelines and personal convenience – the delicate balance of implementing measures to keep everyone safe without impose unreasonable burdens on the traveling public,” she added.

The tourism chief hopes the sector will continue to spread the case for an overhaul of travel and tourism guided by strategic and evidence-based planning. She said the industry must maintain its competitiveness and move forward with emerging trends in the sector now and in the years to come.

Meanwhile, on the closing day of the global summit, the WTTC announced that the next host of the international event will be the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The 22nd edition of the world summit is scheduled for November 30 to December 2 this year.

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