Ottawa boosting tourism ties with Manila

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Canada is looking at boosting its tourism relations with the Philippines as it funds two of the country’s major tourism programs, the Canadian Embassy in Manila said on Thursday.

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In a statement, the embassy announced that Canada is helping the Philippines improve its tourism potential by contributing CAD$7 million to a technical assistance project of the Asian Development Bank.

The contribution was made under Canada’s development assistance program.

“The project provides technical assistance to the Department of Tourism to improve the competitiveness of the tourism sector as well as the efficiency of the labor market through the implementation of an enhanced Hotel and Resorts Quality Assurance and Accreditation system and improved tourism services,” the embassy said.

Canada is also supporting tourism development in the country by funding the Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED) through an $18-million, eight-year (2008 to 2016) bilateral project implemented in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Meanwhile, Canadian Ambassador to Manila Neil Reeder recently met with Philippine Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez to discuss the growth of tourism traffic between the two countries.

Statistics from the Department of Tourism showed that Canada was the seventh-largest source of tourists of the Philippines during the first seven months of 2014.

More than 86,000 Canadians visited the country, which generated almost P5 billion in tourism receipts, making Canada one of the largest markets in terms of visitor expenditure.

The Canadian Tourism Commission recorded more than 46,000 Filipino tourists visiting Canada from January to July this year.

In June, the Philippines and Canada signed an expanded Air Transport Agreement allowing for more flights between the two countries.

There were close to 430,000 one-way passenger trips taken between Canada and the Philippines in 2013, which was up 22.5 percent since 2008.

The Philippines remains the only Association of Southeast Asian Nations country with direct links to Canada.

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