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PIA Press Release

Spain's booming tourism industry can be replicated in RP - PGMA

Manila (28 November) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said today the Philippines can advance its development and eventually become an economic superpower by replicating the success attained by Spain's tourism industry.

Keynoting the 2nd Tribuna Espaņa-Filipinas (Philippines-Spain Tribune) Forum at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Manila this morning, the President noted that Spain has become the economic superpower that it is today through its booming tourism industry.

"Spain is so strong in tourism and whenever I try to convince some of our provinces that tourism is their best hope for their development, I always point out the experience of Spain," the President said.

"That Spain became the economic superpower that it is today from one of the less prosperous countries a long time ago in Europe (because of tourism), that can happen to many of our islands and peninsulas in the Philippines," she added.

The President said that the groundwork for the country's tourism program was encapsulated in her State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) last July where she enumerated the development of the country's Super Regions.

She said that Central Philippines -- composed of the provinces of Bicol, the Visayas, Palawan, Romblon and the northern islands of Camiguin and Siargao -- is the perfect tourist destination "where there will be a lot of tourism investments" because of the numerous scenic attraction in these areas.

"We identified these areas (Super Regions) because about 60 percent of all foreign tourists go to these areas and therefore what we need to do is to develop the capacity so that the tourists can become more comfortable and so that more and more of them can go," she said.

"Our Super Regions program is already in full swing in the run-up to economic takeoff. Infrastructure goes hand-in-hand with law and order to raise the ante on investments to create jobs and push quality social services to alleviate poverty and hunger in the long run," the President added.

The Tribuna Espaņa-Filipinas was formed by distinguished Filipino and Spanish nationals upon the initiative of Philippine Ambassador to Spain Joseph Bernardo, in coordination with Casa Asia of Spain.

The Tribuna Espaņa-Filipinas aims to strengthen bilateral relations between Spain and the Philippines in the areas of business, tourism, culture and the arts.

The first Tribune was held in Madrid last year and focused on the themes of "fraternity" as a manifestation of the special ties between the Philippines and Spain and the "commitment" to build a common feature by learning from the past.

The twinning agreement between the City Government of Manila and the Ayuntamiento de Madrid was also signed at the end of the first Tribune.

The second Tribune held in Manila emphasized trade and investment, infrastructure, energy, tourism, culture and history, role of the local government, education, development and diplomatic cooperation. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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