DOT relaunches bring home a friend program Featured

DOT relaunches bring home a friend program Image: (seated second from left to right) Tourism Director Pura Molintas, Tourism Undersecretary Katherine De Castro, and Deputy Consul General Jaime Ascalon were joined by other San Francisco Philippine Consulate officials in the relaunch of Bring Home a

SAN FRANCISCO -- The successful 1994 program under President Fidel Ramos of the Department of Tourism (DOT) started by then Secretary Mina Gabor has been relaunched to help the department to reach its target of 7 million visitors for 2017.
On hand to lead in the relaunched in the San Francisco Philippine Consulate Kalayaan Hall with Philippine Tourism Director Pura Molintas was DOT Undersecretary Katherine De Castro who asked Filipino Americans to become sponsors and tourism ambassadors of friends to visit the Philippines.
“The program of the Secretary Gabor was so successful it ran for three years and since present Secretary Wanda Teo was one of those who availed of the successful program, she decided to bring it back,” de Castro shared. “Most of those who have availed of this so far are from the Middle East and hopefully North American participants will catch up to the number of Middle East sponsors soon. Some of reasons why U.S. Filipinos have not yet sponsored so much is that we have recently launched it here and it is mainly on Facebook that we launched full blast. But in the next few months we will be launching the program more through traditional media and hopefully see a surge in interest from North America.”
De Castro also allayed fears on security concerns saying that there is more police visibility, people feel safer in the streets with the ongoing drug war that somehow results to getting a feel that President Rodrigo Duterte is serious in providing security not just for Filipinos but also for those who are visiting the Philippines..
Director Molintas advised would-be sponsors to log on to inviteafriend.com and invite as many friends as they like, accept the guest or invitee who must be a foreign passport holder and must not be a resident of the Philippines six months prior to the trip and travel the Philippines and enjoy the islands. Anyone can be a sponsor as long as you are a Filipino of legal age or a foreign expatriate living in the Philippines permanently or temporarily for six months.
“After the travel is completed, the sponsor or invitee should complete the registration process where proff of travel is needed in joining the program to possibly win the prizes of which major ones include a condo unit in Metro Manila from Megaworld Corporation, a brand-new Toyota Vios and a gift certificate from Duty Free Philippines worth P200,000 which are far bigger than ever before,” Molintas beamed. “Proof of travel may be plane ticket or boarding pass which are important because electronic entries will depend on invitee’s point of origin.”
Sponsors may get 1 ticket for invitees from Asia, 2 tickets for invitees from Australia and 3 tickets for those invitees from Europe, the U.S. and Africa while promo’s first leg runs from October 15 to April 15
Foreign visitors, on the other hand, stand to win business class round-trip international flight tickets and tour packages to Palawan, Cebu and Davao.
After six months a winner will be chosen via an electronic draw.
Deputy Consul General Jaime Ascalon expressed excitement on the program because it supports the consulate’s movement to spark, connect and empower the Filipino American community and their efforts to provide platforms to promote the Philippines our culture and our heritage.
“This year, Boracay, Cebu and the Visayan islands and Palawan were declared as the best islands the world. Foreigners openly acknowledged the natural beauty of our country. Through our program we are launching tonight we give people especially the youth and millenials the opportunity to see for themselves why our islands are garnering the accolades and why we are relentless in inviting them to come home. Through their visit we hope to empower the youth to be partners in nation building by bringing home friends and sharing with them the natural beauty of the Philippines. So let us bring home a friend and show them the beauty and charm of the islands in our country,” urged Ascalon.

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