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Confab to rediscover Metro’s tourism gems

With its urban blight notwithstanding, Metro Manila remains an intriguing
and exciting tropical megalopolis for many Westerners.

As proof, London-based paper, The Independent recently featured the megacity in a 48-hour swing for global travelers, while in 2014, it was named as among the world’s 10 Fastest-Emerging Global Cities by The World Post. Add to these the fact that it recently hosted the 65th Miss Universe pageant after more than two decades.

It is in this light that government and private stakeholders in the National Capital Region is convening the first-ever Metro Manila Tourism Forum (MMTF) to help draw a tourism development framework for the big city.

Set on Feb. 9 to 10 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, the confab will be participated in by local tourism council officers, local government executives, and tourism front liners.

The event is organized by the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), hosted by the Quezon City Government, led by Mayor Herbert Bautista, and supported by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Event organizer and AAP Travel president Dr. Mina Gabor said that the MMTF will integrate tourism in the promotion of inclusive and sustainable growth; employment and poverty reduction; resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change; cultural values, diversity and heritage; and peace and security.

Topics include Changing the Tourism Face of City Destinations for a Quality Visitor Experience, Enhancing City Tourism Destinations Competitiveness Through Improved Accessibility, and A 360 View: Positioning City Tourism Destinations in the ASEAN and Local Marketplace.

DOT Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo will lead the keynote speakers, along with UNWTO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Xu Jing, The Wallace Business Forum President Peter Wallace, Singapore’s Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) immediate past president Gregory Duffell.

Other keynote speakers are Homestay Philippines, Inc. President Rose Libongco, TravPax Solutions Pte Ltd. President Dror Maytal, and DOT-NCR Officer-in-Charge Cathy Agustin who will present the best city tour packages.

Gabor said the event is themed “ASEAN: Enhancing City Tourism Destinations towards Sustainable Development,” in line with the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) observance of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

Delegates from ASEAN member countries are expected to attend in support of the Philippines’ chairmanship of this year’s ASEAN Summit and 50th anniversary celebration.

A unique political entity composed of 16 cities and one municipality, Metro Manila is an eclectic blend of the old and the new with its colonial-era districts and modern central business districts.

Hosting next year’s MMTF is the City Government of Parañaque, which is home to bayside world-class tourist facilities such as Okada Manila, Solaire Resort and Casino, City of Dreams, Aseana City, and Resorts World Bayside.