TOKYO – The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Feb. 12 formally introduced the “Bisita, Be My Guest (BBMG)” program to Filipinos in Japan, inviting them to take an active role in the promotion of Philippine tourism.
The BBMG program seeks to incentivize Filipinos, particularly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and overseas Filipinos (OFs) who invite foreign tourists to visit the Philippines with raffle tickets and chances to win vacation tour packages from select local destinations.
“We are grateful for the contributions of our OFWs all over the world, especially here in Japan. And that is why we have prepared a very special guest incentive program for all of you in partnership with the Department of Migrant Workers as well as the support of the Tourism Promotions Board,” Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said in her speech during a meeting with the Filipino community at Bellesalle Tokyo Nihonbashi.
“The BBMG will allow our fellow Filipinos to invite guests, family and friends to the Philippines. I’m sure nami-miss niyo na po ‘yung ating mga magagandang beaches, the rich and diverse culture of the Filipino, and of course what we’re known for in the whole world – the Filipino hospitality,” she added.
According to Frasco, through the BBMG program, Filipinos and their foreign guests will experience “not only the destination itself, but the best of the Filipino through our festivals, our food, our culture, and the warmth and hospitality of the Filipino people.”
Also present at the event was DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople, who underscored the BBMG program’s importance in empowering OFWs to help the country, specifically, its tourism industry.
“Tulungan niyo naman kami kasi kailangan kumita ng bansa natin para magkaroon ng dagdag na trabaho. Kayo ang pwede magdala ng turista sa ating bansa” she said.
The Philippines welcomed 682,788 Japanese tourists in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, making Japan its fourth largest international tourism source market. Last year, the country received 99,557 visitors from the Land of the Rising Sun, its sixth biggest market.
“Now that borders are opening, and that Japanese tourists are starting to travel again, it is now our objective to make sure that we are able to capture them and bring them to the Philippines,” Tourism OIC-Undersecretary Verna Esmeralda Buensuceso told Filipino community leaders at an event held at the Philippine Embassy on the same day. - Florenda Corpuz
(Photos by Din Eugenio)