After a year of absence, the Department of Tourism (DOT) flagship project Ambassadors,Consul-Generals, and Tourism Directors’ Tour (ACGTDT) for this year was launched by the Philippine San Francisco Consulate.
Led by theDepartment of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the DOT’s Tourism PromotionsBoard and Rajah Tours, the 11th Ambassadors’ Tour will take place in thePhilippines on 11-16 July 2017 with the itinerary combining the best of MetropolitanManila up North and the sprawling city of Davao in the South into one adventure-packed and enriching vacation experience.
Participants in the four-day stay in Davao, the King City of the South and current seat of power in the Philippines will be presented with an opportunity to experienceDavao up-close and revel in Davao’s picturesque landscapes through its nature parks, agricultural farms, and resorts, experience the diversity of its people through a series of courtesy calls with Philippine government officials, and feel the harmony of its culture through its heritage and cultural museums.
The tour also seeks to provide its participants with enough experience to engage the irrespective communities and leverage goodwill towards Filipinos and generate interest in the Philippines as a new, safer, more beautiful Philippines,.
Delegates who will be part of the program become “Filipino ambassadors” in their own right,carrying a fresh perspective and the message of a new and improved Philippines when they go back to the United States well-capable of showcasing the strides made in tourism, economic development, and public safety in the Philippines to the larger international community.
In an interview, Philippine San Francisco Consul-General Henry Bensurto Jr. shared that they want this ambassadors’ tour to have a meaning of pure enjoyment with emphasis to the reconnecting, empowerment, and sparking of the Filipino culture and heritage.
“We are using this as a platform to allow Filipinos to spark the Filipino spirit by experiencing actually what it is to be in the Philippines to feel the culture right in Manila and Davao. We are shifting demographics in this year’sAmbassadors Tour to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation as their growth is surpassing the number of 1st generationFilipino-Americans. It is very important that we do something to connect to these generations primarily through immersion,” added Bensurto.
Bensurto explained that the shift in demographics also was done to avoid losing generations ofFilipinos who won’t consider themselves Filipinos or not even aware of where they come from simply because they were not expose to the culture.
“This is along-term strategic thinking because the demographic shows that the rate of growth of the 3rd and 4th generation ofFilipino-Americans is now higher than the growth of migration from thePhilippines. And this is going to be aggravated we assume and presume in the next five years if the immigration policy here is the U.S. is restricted when there could be a slowdown in terms of migration of first generation, who are inturn through the natural process of aging, will diminish in number,” added Bensurto..
Philippine TourismDirector in San Francisco Pura Molintas disclosed that they were not able to hold the event last year because it was election year.
“We were preparing for and assisting in the overseas absentee voting here in the U.S. just the same, I am very excited to have this back again this year making us aggressive in promoting this one,” Molintas shared. “There was no momentum lost when we skipped last year because it was just like a break.” .
Husband and wife Arthur and Rose Ozoa the first participants from San Francisco were the first to sign up for the tour.
“I am fromDavao and was the past president of Davaoeños in California the tour in 2012was good. It was well worth the price. We expect to be given first-class accommodation in the hotels we will checking-in for this coming trip,” Arthur revealed..
Rose imparted that they joined the 2012 tour and, “I liked it so much. It was nice the places we went to that year. Since we are from Davao, we also want to do our share in promoting Davao too.” To entice Filipino Americans in the U.S. andFilipino-Canadians in Canada to deepen their appreciation of beauty of our country, its rich history, heritage and culture
The 11thAmbassadors’ Tour has all-in round-trip and land package starting price fromSan Francisco airport at US$1,738 per passenger while the land-only package starts at US$790 per passenger.
The Ambassadors,Consul-Generals, and Tourism Directors’ Tour was conceptualized in 2004 by allForeign Service Posts in the U.S. and Canada and the Department of Tourism as a flagship project that was formally launched in 2005 with more than 500 participants.
The project aims to attract not only Fil-Ams and foreign tourists to see and visit the various destinations in the Philippines and discover the beauty of the islands,its white sand beaches, nature’s eco-tourism, adventure sites like scuba diving, mountain climbing, trekking, and have the opportunity to experience the warm hospitality of the Filipino people, promote to the travelers and tourists that the Philippines is a safe place to travel, entice Fil-Ams and foreigners to invest in the Philippines particularly in tourism projects, real estate and other tourism related industries, and to promote medical tourism as well as health and wellness programs which the Department of Tourism jointly undertake with the private sector, among others.