200 Delegates to Attend World Tourism Summit in Manila
Byline: RACHEL CASTRO-BARAWID
Over 200 delegates composed of tourism ministers, high-ranking officials of international travel and tourism organizations, representatives of 27 Asian nations and local industry leaders will gather in Manila from June 16-20 to address the impact of SARS and other crises that affect the tourism industry in the Asia Pacific Region.
Spearheaded by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and the Department of Tourism (DoT), the five-day series of events to be held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel are the Asia Pacific Crisis Management Summit; the 39th meeting of the WTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific; and the 18th joint meeting of the WTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the WTO Commission for South Asia.
Tight security measures will be carried out for the duration of the said events. National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Deputy Director General Reynaldo Velasco said 100 police officers will be mobilized for crime prevention and traffic control in Makati during the confab. Tourism minister and high-level official will be given security escorts and liaison officers to ensure their safety and protection.
Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon, chairman of the WTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) said the large number of delegates is a good sign for the tourism industry, despite the recent outbreak of SARS in the region and the fear of travel that it has caused.
It shows that the leading figures on international tourism stage have confidence in the Philippines as a safe and ideal destination, he noted.
The Crisis Management Summit on June 18 to be led by Gordon and WTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli, aims to come up with a collective strategy that can cope with the threats on tourism in the region especially the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Asia has yet to face its greatest challenge. No war or terrorist activity had been able to affect Asias tourism performance over the past few years but SARS has hit at the very heart of the industry, Frangialli revealed.
Tourism ministers Nir Mohammad Nasiruddin of Bangladesh, I. Gede Ardika of Indonesia, Sereyvuth Veng of Cambodia, Hassan Sobir of Maldives and Jean Alain Mahe of Vanuatu will present an overview of the tourism situation in their respective countries during the summit. They will likewise exchange information and share experiences and strategies in overcoming a particular crisis. …