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Tourism Secretary Alberto A. Lim speaks during the New York leg of the promotional program.  (Photo by Elton Lugay)

 

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has concluded its latest promotional program — the Pinoy Homecoming Roadshow, which encourages Filipino communities in six cities in the U.S. and Canada to come home and visit the Philippines.

The roadshow, which began on June 21 in Chicago, also visited the cities of New York, Toronto, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, before finally concluding with a marketing presentation to an audience of some 500 enthusiastic Filipino-Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The roadshow was implemented in line with Presidential Proclamation 181 that declares the years 2011 to 2016 as Pinoy Homecoming Years.

As the overseas Filipino community continues to expand worldwide, the government extends its support to the country’s modern-day heroes.

Through the Balikbayan program, overseas Filipinos are given special privileges and benefits in recognition of their contributions to the growth of the economy in terms of foreign exchange inflow and the revenues they generate.

The proclamation also aims to boost tourist arrivals in the Philippines by encouraging overseas Filipino communities to visit the country, reunite with their families and enjoy their homeland any time between 2011 and 2016.

The roadshow has been warmly received by the leaders of overseas Filipino communities in all areas visited.

They have all committed to fully support the program by disseminating the message to their respective constituencies.

All presentations have been overwhelmingly attended, and venues filled to capacity.

To show their appreciation, community leaders have initiated a manifesto for the President lauding the DOT for spearheading a campaign that not only benefits the Philippine economy but gives importance to overseas Filipinos through a program that seeks to further improve the benefits and privileges being provided to them when they return to the Philippines.

Lim said a substantial increase in tourism arrivals to the Philippines in the next five years is expected with the country’s progress more evidently seen.

“More developments such as hotels and resorts are happening in tourist spots all over the country, the roads are being improved and being built where there is none, and aviation has favored more travellers with affordable fares and more flights to choose from. We would like to support the President in his vision to prioritize our Filipino kababayans abroad upon their return and enjoy their homeland for visits. Thus, we will actively promote this proclamation,” he said.

The campaign aims to drive up tourism and appreciation for the country, as well as to encourage expansion and investments and create opportunities for more Filipinos both locally and abroad.

The campaign targets an increase of 25 percent in visitor arrivals from North America for 2011 over the 2010 figures.

The campaign is spearheaded by the DOT in partnership with Globe Telecom and Duty Free Philippines Corp., in cooperation with Western Union, Philippine Airlines and the over 500 merchant-partners composed of hotels, resorts, restaurants, medical and insurance institutions nationwide.

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