The British Chamber of Commerce Philippines proudly launched the return of its annual event titled, 'Travel Talks 2024: Trailblazing the Future of Travel' after its hiatus in 2019 due to the pandemic; partnered with Sunville Travel and Tour and Filigree Suites as its minor sponsor.

The travel and tourism industry witnessed growth through significant efforts from the government and the private sector in transitioning to fully opening up borders for travelers and businesses.

BCCP Executive Director/Trustee Chris Nelson cited in his remarks the surge in tourists coming from the UK to the Philippines and how it contributes to the ever-growing cultural, diplomatic, and economic ties between the two countries.

'In 2023, the Philippines reported that the United Kingdom contributed to the 11% surge in tourist arrivals. Specifically, 154,698 individuals from the UK accounted for 2.84% of the total visiting tourists. Further empowering the ever-growing diplomatic and economic relations between the UK and the Philippines,' Nelson said.

BCCP Executive Director/Trustee Chris Nelson, Hon. Secretary Jaime Bautista of the Department of Transportation, Undersecretary Atty. Shereen Gail Yu-Pamintuan of the Department of Tourism.

In his presentation, Secretary Bautista aims to prioritize improving the country's connectivity through airport expansion, railways, and roadways to also boost its tourism sector. He also emphasized the need to ensure a 'comfortable, accessible, safe, sustainable and affordable' travel as part of its commitment to strengthening Philippine tourism.

'Our multi-sectoral initiatives are directed towards a better travel experience while boosting tourism. We have engaged different business organizations, chambers such as yours, private investors and international financial institutions, even foreign governments to fund our projects,' Secretary Bautista noted.

Undersecretary Yu-Pamintuan also aligns the Department of Tourism's shared objectives with the Department of Transportation with its strategies under the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023-2028. This includes the improvement of tourism infrastructure, digitalization, boosting investments, and further enhancing tourism governance.

'Tourism Enterprize Zones (TEZs), [it] is a mechanism to attract tourism investments and improve [the] business environment towards its vision to develop a globally competitive, environmentally sustainable, and socially responsible tourism industry that promotes inclusive growth,' as discussed by Usec. Yu-Pamintuan.

To share the insights from the private sector, General Manager of International SOS, Mr. Steve Weston highlighted the current global trends and risks in the travel industry, citing water shortages, frequency extreme weather changes and conditions, significantly impacting flight schedules and cancellations.

According to Weston, these can be mitigated through preventive measures and enhancing an organization and an individual's preparedness through health insurances and travel security training.

The British Chamber consistently promotes increased public-private partnerships towards infrastructure development. This serves to further enhance the country's connectivity, ensuring local and foreign businesses' growth and allowing the Philippines to become a tourism powerhouse in the region.

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