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PIA Press Release

Keep faith in tourism as powerful instrument to alleviate poverty, PGMA tells 6th ITF-PLA participants

Cebu City (October 23) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called on the participants of the 6th International Tourism Forum for Parliamentarians and Local Authorities at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa, to keep faith in tourism as a powerful instrument to alleviate poverty.

Speaking before the participants on October 22 on the eve of her departure to Beijing, President Arroyo said, "Global economic realities threaten the fight to reduce poverty worldwide. But we must stay hopeful. Let us keep our faith in tourism as a powerful instrument to alleviate poverty."

Tourism has shown its strong relience in the face of global problems in the past, President Arroyo said. She mentioned about the financial crisis in 1997 which came and went with barely a dent on the volume of tourist arrivals.

"Bali and the rest of ASEAN have suffered terrorist attacks and most of ASEAN has endured the SARS scare, but the numbers of inbound visitors to our region have continued to increase," the President added.

President Arroyo, however, called on the participants not lose sight of the global crunch's impact on the ordinary people who bear the brunt of these fluctuations.

"We must not revert to complacency just because the markets swing to the positive. Costly commodity imports like oil and rice should be offset by commodity exports, hard commodities like primary products, and soft ones like leisure, eco, and medical tourism, President Arroyo said.

Thus, President Arroyo bid the participants to look beyond the difficulties posed by the current global economic slowdown and address the major issues which will continue to influence the strategic directions of global tourism. This include issues like climate change, the role of women, and the relationship between tourism and poverty alleviation. (PIA 8) [top]

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