Philippines hosts lunch for General Assembly delegates

The Philippines hosts the third of the General Assembly’s hosted lunches today as it puts forward its case for hosting the 2021 UNWTO meeting

Three Member States (Kenya, Morocco and the Philippines) have put themselves forward to host the 24th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly in 2021. This week in St Petersburg, they are all hosting special lunches for delegates and other guests. Here, on the day they host their lunch, the Philippines shares its reasons for pitching for the next General Assembly:

The Philippines, its land, sea, people and culture is a gem of mankind. This realization is what makes the Philippine Department of Tourism all the more committed to achieving a sustainable and inclusive tourism industry.

The Filipino values of compassion and kind-heartedness make a perfect baseline for a people who sustain tourism as an economic life blood. This, partnered with the diversity of the flora and fauna found in the country, emphasizes the need for vigilant and meaningful choices in governing these resources. With the heightened global consciousness on sustainability, the Philippine journey towards sustainable and responsible tourism development is worth sharing. 

Hinged on this foundation, the Philippines strategically posits to be the venue of the world’s primary gathering of tourism leaders and movers of the industry, the United Nations World Tourism Organization General Assembly (UNWTO GA).

Philippine Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says, “The Philippines wants to hold itself accountable and committed to building a tourism sector that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impact. This is why we are boldly putting forward the Philippines’ bid to host the 24th General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization in the year 2021. Taking the lead at the UNWTO General Assembly is consistent with the Philippine  Department of Tourism's advocacy to promote awareness for responsible travel and tourism that is meaningful not only for the traveler but more so for the communities whose quality of life is uplifted by tourism.”

With the country's consistent drive to be a leading member in the international tourism community, recognizing our pledge to the organization and as a founding member of the UNWTO, we have maintained our presence in active engagement for the committee on the tourism satellite accounts, and tourism and sustainability, among others.

Through the years, the country has proven its sustainability advocacy from its membership since the organization’s founding in 1975, in the delivery of Manila Declaration on World Tourism in 1978, the proclamation of the Manila Declaration on the Social Impacts of Tourism in 1997, and currently, following the successful International Conference on Tourism Statistics in 2017 is the Manila Call for Action on Measuring Sustainable Tourism wherein the Philippines was charged to facilitate.

“We are driven to see that our bid becomes a reality.  The Philippines is doing this because we believe in the power of the tourism sector to uplift the lives of people. This is especially true in a country such as the Philippines where in 2018, tourism contributed 12.7 percent to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and generated 5.4 million jobs,” enthused Puyat.

Recently, the ongoing sustainability efforts initiated on Boracay Island and other prime destinations are likewise proof positive of the country’s commitment to the UNWTO’s vision to promote and develop sustainable tourism in view of its contribution to economic development, international understanding, respect for the world’s cultures and conservation of the natural environment.

The hosting is made more meaningful with the celebration of the quincentennial anniversary of the first successful circumnavigation of the world which was completed when the Spanish expedition arrived in Cebu.  This draws importance to the nation’s significant role in world maritime history and the country’s discovery.

“It is likewise very timely that the Philippines welcomes the world for this assembly in time for the quincentennial celebration of the first successful circumnavigation of the world. An event of great significance to mankind, a triumph in travel and exploration, one that has the Philippines in the center of it all.”