The Philippines and Russia have discussed the possibility of adopting a roadmap on tourism cooperation that would identify specific areas and actions to implement the Agreement on Tourism Cooperation which was signed on March 14, 2006.
Philippine Ambassador to the Russian Federation Carlos Sorreta has met with the Head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturizm), Oleg Petrovich Safonov recently as part of ongoing efforts to bring more Russian tourists to the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on January 30.
Valery Korovkin, Director for the International Department of Rosturizm joined Safanov while the new Economic Officer for the Philippine Embassy in Moscow, Third Secretary and Vice Consul Catherine Alpay, and Embassy Interpreter Dmitry Khodzko accompanied Ambassador Sorreta.
Sorreta and Safonov recognized the importance of tourism in building better understanding between Filipinos and Russians.
“Tourism helps our peoples understand each other better which in turn can contribute to building closer relations between our countries,” Sorreta said.
Safonov said Rosturizm was very open to having a Roadmap and that, since the last agreement was signed 11 years ago, it was time to adopt a new kind of cooperation on paper.
Safonov also welcomed the gains of the Duterte Administration in fighting terrorism and crime, particularly in battling the drug menace since Rosturizm is always concerned for the safety of Russian tourists all over the world.
He said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s drive against illegal drugs has greatly reduced the drug menace. He also said that the Philippine government was making progress in counter-terrorism and anticipates even more gains when defense and intelligence cooperation between the Philippines and Russia becomes more robust.
Safonov noted that there are some 6,000 Filipino tourist arrivals in Russia in the past year, while Russians even bring their families to go on vacation in the Philippines.
Both Ambassador Sorreta and Safonov agreed that forging an implementation agreement through a Tourism Roadmap is timely given the invitation of President Vladimir Putin to President Duterte to visit Russia, possibly on the first half of 2017.