Rizal Hall, Malacañang
13 July 2012

President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed delegates and participants joining the 7th North American Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) and urged them to continue promoting the tourism industry in the country.

“You may have built new lives and found your places in new communities, but you also continue to maintain strong ties to your homeland… At the end of the day, it is you that your friends and family in the United States, Canada, and Guam will believe when you tell them “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” the President said.

President Aquino assured them that the government has been dedicated in boosting the tourism industry in the country citing strategic policies such as the Pocket Open Skies Policy, which eases restrictions on foreign airlines allowing them to land in airports outside Metro Manila. For this year, the policy has already generated a 15% increase on incoming and outgoing flights in just six months starting January.

Collaborative efforts between DPWH and DOTC have also improved travel experience of tourists, where the country welcomed 1.8 million tourists in the first five months of this year, exceeding the yearly average of 3 million. With improved roads and rehabilitated airports around the country, the government is optimistic that the tourism industry may even breach its target.

He also reported positive change that his administration was able to achieve in just a short span of two years since he took office. He said that the Philippine economic growth has surpassed the expectations of most analysts with 6.4% growth in the first quarter of 2012. Underemployment rate in the country went down to 26.6% in May, equivalent to 10.9 million from 13.8 million reported in March, which in turn lowered the hunger report from 23.8% to 18.4%.

The ACGTDT serves as a vehicle for Filipinos, Filipino-Americans, Filipino-Canadians, and non-Filipinos from all over the US and Canada to experience the ‘fun’ in visiting the Philippines.

Also joining the tour is the first batch of newly selected 10 Filipino-American Young Leaders from different states.

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