UK Labour official acknowledges electoral backlash over Gaza

UK Labour official acknowledges electoral backlash over Gaza
UK Labour official acknowledges electoral backlash over Gaza

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Philippines seeks to position itself as top tourism destination at Arabian Travel Market

MANILA: The Philippines is working to attract more visitors from the Middle East and position itself as a preferred destination for international travelers, its tourism stakeholders said ahead of the Arabian Travel Market in

More than 2,300 exhibitors and delegates from over 165 countries are joining the annual Arabian Travel Market, which this year will take place from May 6 to 9 at the Dubai World Trade Center. 

In the Philippines, known for its white sandy beaches, diving spots and diverse culture, tourism is a key sector, contributing nearly 13 percent, or about $44 billion, to its gross domestic product in 2019. 

The Department of Tourism will be leading the Philippine delegation in Dubai, as officials set their eyes on promoting the country’s best tourism to the international market. 

“We look forward to these opportunities to share the Filipino story to the rest of the world … and to reinforce the Philippines’ position as a preferred destination and top-of-mind choice for travelers,” Secretary of Tourism Christina Garcia Frasco said in a statement. 

With its participation at the Arabian Travel Market, the Philippines hopes to sustain the momentum from increased tourist arrivals from the Middle East, she added.

The Philippine tourism industry will not only promote their strengths, such as their tropical and natural attractions, but also diverse offerings in gastronomy and culture, as well as the Filipino tourism workers, “who serve as our best asset for their distinct hospitality and warmth,” Frasco said. 

The Philippines has welcomed more 2 million international travelers since the beginning of the year, according to data from the tourism department. This includes a 10 percent increase in visitors arriving from Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which has been among the Philippine government’s key emerging-market targets. 

“There’s been a remarkable surge in outbound tourism from the Middle East, particularly from Gulf Cooperation Council countries … We see a growing appetite for international travel among GCC citizens and we see this trend continuing to rise in the coming years,” said Maria Margarita Montemayor Nograles, chief operating officer of the Tourism Promotions Board.

“This is one of the major reasons why we are doubling down on our efforts to maintain and enhance our presence in the Middle East. With our continued participation at the ATM, we aim to position the Philippines as a top-of-mind destination in Asia.” 

Tourists from the Middle East are growing more important for some Filipino tourism operators, and represent a significant segment of their clientele, said Manih Karay, president of CTPH Tour. 

“To appeal to tourists from Arab countries and promote the Philippines, we highlight the country’s natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality … Their interest in exploring new destinations and cultural experiences aligns well with our commitment to providing inclusive and diverse travel services,” Karay told Arab News. 

Arab tourists also contribute to the growth of the Philippines’ tourism industry, Karay said, adding that they foster cultural exchange and economic development. 

“Their visits not only enrich our travel experiences but also promote mutual understanding and appreciation among different cultures,” she said. 

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