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DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. led a strong public-private sector delegation to Paris on 10-11 March 2014 to promote the Philippines as both a destination for investments and tourism.

In an investment forum at the Mandarin Oriental on 10 March 2014, Secretary Jimenez enumerated the reasons to invest in the Philippines. Aside from trumpeting the improved standing of the Philippines in the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, Secretary Jimenez began reading the list of citations and awards the country has been receiving.

“We are the Telegraph UK’s ‘Top Ten Destinations for 2014’, ‘The Top Ten Most Googled Destinations’ according to CNN, and the Shanghai Morning Post’s ‘Most Romantic Destination’, because the Philippines is not going to be a one-night stay; it’s going to be a love affair,” according to Secretary Jimenez.

After the investment forum, a travel exchange workshop was held the following day at Paris’ Salon des Miroirs. 76 persons from 48 French tour operators and travel agencies attended the event which allowed the French participants to meet members of the DOT business delegation, such as El Nido Resorts, Huma Resorts in Palawan, Nandana Resort in Boracay, Atmosphere Resort in Bohol, and other Philippine tourism operators.

An ingenious system of distributing “travel passports” to the French participants and asking them to have these stamped after meeting each of the Philippine companies greatly increased the fun factor of the evening. The “travel passports” were later raffled and five lucky French participants won vacations to Boracay, Palawan, and Manila, including a roundtrip ticket to the Philippines.

Don Papa Rum and banana chips were served during the apéritif, while the public was serenaded by Filipino electric violinist Jake Juleous Gacang who did a modern rendition of French classics, such as La vie en rose and Comme d’habitude.

France is one of the fastest-growing tourism markets for the Philippines. Almost 40,000 French nationals visited the Philippines in 2013, up by almost 16% compared to the previous year. With the signing of an updated Air Services Agreement with France in January 2014 and the resumption of direct flights between Paris and Manila, the size of the French market is expected to increase even further. 

 

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DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez delivers presentation on the Philippine tourism industry

 

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DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez at the Travel Exchange Workshop at Paris' Salon des Miroirs

 

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French participants network with Filipino travel operators

 

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Secretary Jimenez gives away round-trip ticket to the Philippines