The Philippines will take center stage when it hosts the World Economic Forum (WEF) in East Asia next year.
President Benigno S. Aquino III after his historic debut at the annual gathering of business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said Manila has agreed to be the venue of the annual gathering of business and political leaders in East Asia that he hopes will promote the country to potential investors.
“We agreed to host the East Asia Summit for WEF in 2014 so which means it will be warmer climates than presently,” Aquino said after his meeting with WEF founder Klaus Schwab.
“Will it get us mileage? De?nitely. Of course, it will not be as widely attended as the one here in Davos. But again, it puts us at the center stage of the world map for that period, which is something like July or so,” he added.
Aquino said the details of the upcoming WEF on East Asia in Manila will still be worked out by the concerned parties.
With the hosting of the regional forum next year, the President said the Philippines can take pride of its economic achievements sustained by good governance.
“Especially now that, I think, we have a message that we want to share with everybody else. There are things that we can be proud of. We can participate in the world stage and not feeling ashamed or embarrassed,” he said.
He said the event would probably be bigger than the Asian Development Bank (ADB) annual meeting held in Manila last year.
In his remarks at the roundtable meeting with global business executives in Davos, Aquino invited bigwigs from all over the world to also consider the Philippines for leisure.
He said the Philippines is committed to continue eliminating corruption and institutionalizing reforms, invest in people and lure more investors.
“These are truly exciting times for our country. We are realizing the long-untapped potential of our country, and we are here to invite you to join us… We Filipinos have always been proud of the beauty of our country, and of the hospitality of our people, and we want to show them off, to attract even more tourists to our shores,” he said.
He told the meeting that the Philippines’ Department of Tourism has embarked on a campaign to show the world that “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”
“And so many have taken notice. Publications like Conde Nast Traveller, the New York Times, and Travel + Leisure Magazine have cited the Philippines as a prime beach holiday destination,” Aquino said.
He said figures indicated that 4.3 million tourists visited the Philippines in 2012 – and they ended up returning after discovering even more reasons why it’s more fun in the country.
“Tourist arrivals which are a little short of our 4.6 million tourist target, which unfortunately was the result of some political tension in the region. In spite of this, though, China’s Oriental Morning Post named my country the ‘Best Tourist Destination’ in its annual World Travel Special Trips awards, and the Shanghai Morning Post identified the Philippines as the ‘Most Romantic Destination’ in the world – an award surely inspired by the magnificent sunsets over our numerous white sand beaches, or the pristine, secluded coves dotting our many islands,” Aquino told the delegates.
He said hotels have been sprouting up around the Philippines in the past two years, indicating the country’s tourism boom.
“In fact, I hear that an additional 1,599 rooms have been built in Boracay, one of our most popular beach destinations. So, whether you want to come to the Philippines for business or for leisure, we will gladly welcome you,” Aquino said.
Aquino said tourism and agriculture are specifically in his administration’s sights since they hold the country’s key strengths – an abundance of natural resources, for one – “and because they tend to spur growth all over the archipelago, not merely in the urbanized areas.”