TOKYO – The Department of Tourism’s (DOT) promotional campaign, “Bisita, Be My Guest (BBMG),” positioning Filipinos as travel ambassadors, took the spotlight during the “Philippine Tourism Night” held at the Peacock Room of the Imperial Hotel on Monday.
The DOT, in collaboration with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), and private sector partners, introduced the BBMG program anew to an estimated 500 guests, including Philippine Ambassador to Japan Mylene Garcia-Albano, other Embassy officials, and leaders and members of the Filipino community in Tokyo during this special event.
The BBMG aims to encourage Filipinos, particularly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and overseas Filipinos (OFs), to invite foreign tourists to the Philippines by offering raffle tickets and chances to win vacation tour packages from select local destinations.
While BBMG had been previously introduced to Filipinos in Japan by DOT Secretary Christina Frasco and the late former DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople during President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s meeting with the Filipino community at Bellesalle Tokyo Nihonbashi last year, this occasion served as a renewed introduction, encouraging active participation in promoting Philippine tourism.
“With the help of the OFWs and OFs, the promotion of the Philippines has been widely disseminated. So they are indeed a significant help in this BBMG program,” shared DOT Tokyo Attaché Niel Ballesteros with the Filipino-Japanese Journal.
The campaign is scheduled to conclude on April 30, culminating in a grand raffle draw set for May 10. Despite this timeline, Ballesteros expressed optimism about its continuation.
“I hope you will promote the Philippines, and please spread the love. Love the Philippines!” said the tourism diplomat in his closing remarks.
Attendees enjoyed a buffet featuring Filipino favorites, including adobo, beef caldereta, and turon. A talk show focused on the BBMG program provided insights and information. A quiz segment added excitement to the event, with winners receiving goodies from the DOT. Furthermore, a raffle draw distributed prizes such as hotel stays and airplane tickets, featuring a Tokyo-Manila roundtrip ticket as the major prize, courtesy of Philippine Airlines (PAL).
The Inrayog-Philippines Folkdance Troupe kicked off the performance segment at the event with a lively dance, followed by Beverly, who delivered a solo musical performance. Maria Theresa Gow not only hosted the event but also took the stage, treating the audience to a song.
According to the DOT, the Philippines welcomed 305,580 Japanese tourists in 2023, making Japan the country’s third top tourism source market. - Words by Florenda Corpuz, Photos by Din Eugenio