ROME, Italy — Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco on Nov. 10 (Thursday) paid a courtesy visit to the Office of the Italian Minister of Tourism, Her Excellency (HE) Daniela Garnero Santaché, to discuss the tourism ties between the Republic of the Philippines and the Italian Republic, and to forge for the very first time a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on tourism between the two countries.
Secretary Frasco congratulated Minister Santaché for her fresh term as the head of the Ministry of Tourism in Italy, which started in October 2022.
“Please accept our warmest congratulations on your assumption of the new government, as well as your assumption as Ministry of Tourism. We recognize your country to be a very important partner for the Philippines in many aspects. We celebrate 75 years of our official relations, and we share with you a love for many things Italian,” Secretary Frasco said.
“In 2019, we welcomed almost 40,000 Italians into the Philippines as tourists. We are very interested in increasing that number,” she added.
In particular, the PDOT chief made a proposal to enter a Memorandum of Understanding with the Italian Minister of Tourism. “We would be very interested and happy to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding on tourism cooperation among our two countries and ministries, recognizing that we could work together to mutually develop,” she added.
Minister Santaché positively received Secretary Frasco’s invitation to forge a tourism agreement.
“We would like to continue the collaboration that our two countries have before. Also, [from the level of the Minister of Tourism of Italy and Philippines], we share the interest that you shared to have a Memorandum of Understanding of trying to have coordination,” said Minister Santaché.
Secretary Frasco and Minister Santaché, in particular, are eyeing possible tourism coordination in cross-promoting dive sites in Rome and Philippines, increasing accessibility by reinstating direct flights between the two countries, and provision of Italian language training assistance to Filipino tourism workers.
Listening Session in Rome
Maximizing her official overseas mission as the head of the successful Philippine delegation to the World Travel Market (WTM) 2022 London, Frasco also continued her listening session in Rome, Italy with the objective of enhancing the mutual travel exchange between the Philippines and Italy by fostering new and existing partnerships with Italian travel and tourism players.
“The Italian market is a very important source market for the Philippines,” Secretary Frasco said.
“A wave of optimism has taken over our country, considering that our government has identified tourism to be a top priority agenda and as a major economic pillar for our resurgence,” Secretary Frasco added.
Representatives from the aviation sector, the media, travel and tours sectors, and the diving community participated in the meeting.
The Tourism Secretary assured the attendees of the Philippine government’s efforts to make travel into the Philippines more convenient for international tourists through infrastructure improvements such as the enhancement of international airports, continued negotiations with airlines to reinstate discontinued routes.
Thanking the Italian tourism stakeholders for their suggestions and insights, the Tourism Secretary said, “We’ve noted all of your valuable insight because our desire is really to continue to improve the conditions in the Philippines to be able to encourage more people to come into the country.”
Among the Italian stakeholders in attendance are Alpitour, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Go World, Guidda Viaggi, H20, KeL 12, L’Agenzia di Viaggi, Nautica, Travel Quotidiano, TTG Italia, Turismo & Attualita, Qatar Airways, VIA Viaggi in Avventura, and Viaggi del Mappamondo.
With Secretary Frasco during the meetings were Embassy of the Philippines in Rome Chargé d’Affaires Nina Cainglet and Vice Consul Nadine Morales, and DOT Undersecretaries Shahlimar Tamano and Verna Buensuceso.