Philippines-Spain Cultural Ties Emerge as Tourism Come-On
"The Philippines and Spain's strong cultural affinity is an asset. We want to emphasize that connection," Enrique Ruiz de Lara, tourism counselor of the Embassy of Spain said in an interview at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel last Thursday.
Today, de Lara said Spain's interests in the Philippines are now centered on the latter's popular beach destinations and diving sites, which is why he challenged tourism players here to preserve the country's natural resources vis-a-vis the growing developments in infrastructure.
In addition, he said the Tagalog language, which contains some 22,000 Spanish words, proves as an advantage giving a Spanish tourist a better chance of communicating well with Filipinos.
De Lara however admitted that because of the lack of awareness between both countries, the Philippines lags behind as one of Spain's top travel markets like the United Kingdom, Japan, China, India, Australia, and New Zealand.
In Southeast Asia, their popular destinations include Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and the Philippines.
This is why de Lara said tourism ministers in Spain are aggressively pushing for increased cooperation, together with the Department of Tourism (DoT) through intensified promotional and marketing campaigns, and possible direct flights to and from the Philippines and Spain. …