This story is published in partnership with SoJannelleTV, a magazine show about Filipinos in North America.
Who better than Filipinos themselves to boost the Philippines’ tourism sector?
That’s what Christina Frasco, the Philippines’ secretary of tourism, said while in Los Angeles for the Philippine Travel Fair, the Philippine Department of Tourism’s (DOT) first-ever travel fair in Los Angeles. Among the objectives for the event, which took place April 22 in Burbank, was to promote the Southern California launch of the country’s tourism program, Bisita, Be My Guest (BBMG), which seeks to reintroduce the country to tourism following the pandemic.
“We bring the warmth of the Philippines to Los Angeles and the United States to bring the good news that we’re giving our fellow Filipinos here the opportunity to become tourism ambassadors for the Philippines by inviting any foreign friend, guest, or spouse to ‘be our guest’ in exchange for winning raffle prizes,” said Frasco in a segment on So Jannelle TV, which airs US-wide on cable channels The Filipino Channel (TFC) and ANC, as well as on local Southern CA digital channel KNET 25.1. It is also available on social media platforms.
The program offers raffle prizes to overseas Filipino workers and Filipinos living abroad who will sign up on their website as a sponsor and invite non-Filipinos to visit the country; and to people who have been invited and end up visiting. The program also offers a BBMG Privilege Card, which includes discounts and incentives at partnering businesses.
One of the other perks is the “travel passport,” a promotions booklet wherein tourists can collect stamps and be awarded local souvenirs. Among the destinations included in the promo are Cebu, Bohol, and Palawan, as well as Ilocos and surfing destination Siargao.
Among the vendors at the travel fair was Starlux Airlines, the Taiwan-based airline that began operations in 2020 and has expanded with flights to several destinations in the Philippines.
Other businesses that took the opportunity to connect with visitors were ChowGing ATBP, a Southern California based food distributor that markets chicharron bites, plus The Embotidos, a catering company that serves Filipino embutidos – meatloaf rolls filled with different ingredients.
“We are here to support also the Department of Tourism because they want also to invite Filipinos to go balikbayan sa Filipinas,” said Yeng Lim of The Embotidos. “At the same time for the Fil-Ams here, we bring back the taste of the Filipinos through the embutidos.”
The travel fair drew large numbers of guests, who came to sample some of the cuisines, plan their next trip to the Philippines, or just revel in the company of their compatriots. That alone made Frasco content with the event.
“The Philippines is now the world’s leading beach destination and the world’s leading dive destination, and we are host to Asia’s leading tourist attraction Intramuros. There is a wealth of avenues for travel tourism and entertainment all over our country. It only depends on your level of adventure as well as the type of travel that you’d like to have,” said Frasco. – Jannelle So Productions | Rappler.com
Rappler is partnering with Jannelle So Productions Inc (JSP), founded by Filipino-American pioneer and Los Angeles-based journalist Jannelle So, to publish video and written stories from SoJannelleTV about the journeys, successes, and challenges of Filipinos living in America.
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