With the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between The Philippines and State of Qatar, the two nations aim to strengthen their cooperation, particularly in the aspects of mutual development and growth of tourism and business events.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco and State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, H.E. Mr. Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Monday (Apr. 22), before President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and Qatar Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the Malacanang Palace, as one of the agreements exchanged during the State Visit of the Qatar Amir to the Philippines.

“Fortifying tourism cooperation between the Philippines and Qatar by way of signing this Memorandum of Cooperation forges a stronger partnership for increased tourism exchanges between our nations. With this significant step forward, we unlock the wealth  opportunities for growth as we explore new avenues for collaboration, particularly on the aspect of tourism and business events. Under the Marcos administration, we are reintroducing the Philippines to the world on the strength of our Filipino culture, heritage, and identity, and we view our partnership with Qatar as being an important part of this movement,” Secretary Frasco said.

Under the agreement, the Philippines and Qatar agreed to jointly work towards encouraging tourist flows into each country; promoting cooperation between travel and tourism agencies and other establishments to increase tourist exchange and promotion; and creating favourable conditions for movements and communications for the visiting tourists.

The MoU also solidifies the two countries’ intent to encourage tourism investments; undertake exchange of organizational expertise, knowledge, statistics, and best practices; promote familiarization visits for media and tourism experts, and further skills development of operators, employees, and specialists in tourism through seminars and specialized trainings.

Based on DOT data, the Philippines received 10,438 visitor arrivals from Qatar in 2023. This year, visitor arrivals have reached 3,784 from January to April as of April 20, 2024.

On the aspect of business events, both countries have agreed to promote holding of various business events including exhibitions and conferences attractive to tourists, promote cooperation between other relevant exhibitions and conferences, organizing agencies; encourage exchange of organizational experiences in the field of business events; encourage familiarization visits in the field of business; exchange legislations and regulations; and provide possible logistical support at the international level for hosting exhibitions and international conferences.

A Joint Working Team between the Philippines and Qatar will be formed to undertake and set up the work programme, execution, follow up, and evaluation of the activities in line with the implementation of the provisions of the agreement.

“Our renewed tourism collaboration with Qatar aligns with the country’s approved National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023-2028, where Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, and Exhibition (MICE) is identified as a strategic tourism product essential in the actualization of our President’s vision for the country to become a tourism powerhouse in Asia. Aside from being blessed with natural wonders and rich cultural experiences, the Philippines is home to world-class MICE facilities,  not to mention the country’s biggest strength–our Filipino workers who are always willing to go the extra mile to extend warmth and hospitality to our guests. Cooperation in the field of tourism presents significant opportunities for Qatar and the Philippines to leverage each other’s strengths and jointly expand our respective MICE offerings,” Secretary Frasco said.

With the equalization of tourism product development and the promotion as well as diversification of product portfolio through multidimensional tourism as its key objectives under the NTDP, the DOT has actively worked towards strengthening its Muslim-friendly and halal tourism offerings to cater to the needs of Muslim visitors.

In June 2023, the Philippines was awarded as the Emerging Muslim-friendly Destination of the Year (Non-OIC) at the prestigious Halal in Travel Global Summit 2023.



Photos from RTVM live:

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