Foreign tourism ministers, other VIPs set to arrive in Manila

MANILA-- Foreign tourism ministers and other officials are expected to arrive Manila on Tuesday to attend the upcoming United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) International Conference on Tourism Statistics slated this week.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Undersecretary for Administration and Special Concerns Ronaldo Canizal said that among the first to arrive was Cameroon Tourism Minister Bello Bouba Maigari who arrived Sunday night.

Cameroon or the Republic of Cameroon is a country lying at the junction of western and central Africa. The country is often referred to as "Africa in miniature".

Meanwhile, South Africa Statistician-General Pall Lehohla arrived Monday (June 19) morning.

More tourism ministers and other officials are expected to arrive Tuesday for the UNWTO confab which will run from June 21 to 23.

Other tourism ministers and officials who are expected to arrive are UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, Lao's Minister Savankohone Razmountry, Sri Lanka's Minister John Amaratunga, Sudan's Minister Mohamed Abuzaid Mustafa Mohamed, Thailand's Minister Kobarn Wattanavrangkul, Zimbabwe's Minister Walter Mzembi and Uganda's Minister Kamuntu Ephraim.

Costa Rica's Minister Mauricio Ventura Aragon, Fiji's Minister Faiyaz Koya, and Seychelle's Minister Anne Lafortune have also reportedly confirmed their attendance.

Canizal said that at least eight tourism ministers, 15 deputy ministers and over 300 foreign delegates have confirmed their attendance to the conference.

After the conference, the tourism ministers will also be brought to top tourist destinations like Balesin Island Club, located in Polillo, Quezon Province and Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

The tourism official said that the two familiarization tours are meant to showcase the Philippine destinations that somehow serve as a model for tourism sustainability.

We want to bring them to destinations that practice sustainable tourism development -- one that benefits the community and allows a good experience for people, Canizal said in a previous interview.

The 6th UNWTO International Conference on Tourism Statistics, which will be held from June 21 to 24 June at the Marriott Hotel, will put the measurement of sustainable tourism as the primary focus.

According to the UNWTO, the Manila conference will be a landmark opportunity to discuss methodological advances, explore emerging issues and learn from pioneering country experiences in this area of measurement.

It is through the conference where participating countries will develop an international statistical framework that supports the measurement of sustainable tourism in its various dimensions (economic, environmental and social) and at relevant spatial levels (global, national and subnational).

The conference will also yield a declaration acknowledging the importance of developing a statistical framework for measuring sustainable tourism in fostering a common understanding for tracking progress and directing policy efforts.

"UNWTO recognizes that, apart from being a technical exercise, the development and implementation of a statistical framework for sustainable tourism is very much a strategic endeavor that will require stakeholder engagement, inter-institutional coordination and political leadership. Consequently, the Manila Conference will start with a Ministerial Roundtable and Panels involving leaders from Ministries of Tourism, Environment and National Statistics Offices," the organization said on its brochure.

The previous five International Conferences on Tourism Statistics were held in Ottawa (1991), Nice (1999), Vancouver (2001), Iguazu (2005) and Bali (2009).

Source: Philippines News Agency

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