ITALIAN Ambassador to the Philippines Marco Clemente on Thursday urged the Philippines to embrace opera as a cornerstone of its cultural tourism strategy.

"I'm a strong believer of the opera. Opera is the only form of art which is capable to attract foreign tourists," Clemente said at The Manila Times forum on classical culture and tourism at the Grand Hyatt Manila. "I say that not because I'm an opera fan, but because I saw it happen. In my 40 plus years of traveling around the world, I saw a lot of Asian tourists. It's amazing how many Japanese, South Koreans, and Chinese go to Europe to attend opera festivals, especially in the summer."

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