The Philippines' Department of Tourism announced plans on Tuesday to strengthen tourism ties with Austria. This includes signing a new agreement to improve travel connections and share ideas on various types of tourism. The move comes after noting a near-full recovery in Austrian tourists visiting the Philippines in 2023.

Tourists wandering on the white sand of Boracay.
(Photo : Jan Walter Luigi on Unsplash)

Philippines Aims to Grow Tourism with Austria

The Philippines is working to bring more tourists from Austria by boosting the two countries' tourism relationship. Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco revealed the plan to sign a Memorandum of Tourism Cooperation during a meeting in Vienna on March 7. This agreement will focus on better travel links, sharing cultural and heritage practices, improving sustainable tourism, and training in hospitality.

Frasco highlighted that nearly 90% of the Austrian tourists who visited the Philippines before the COVID-19 pandemic have returned, with 13,180 arrivals in 2023. According to PTVNews, she emphasized the goal to inform Austrians about the Philippines' attractions, like beaches, diving spots, and adventure activities. Over 126,000 Filipino tourism workers were trained in 2023 to ensure high-quality service.

Austria's State Secretary for Tourism, Susanne Kraus-Winkler, discussed a "working holiday program" that was agreed upon last October. This program lets young people from 18 to 30 combine travel and work in the other country to learn about its culture. Kraus-Winkler expressed eagerness to start this program soon, aiming to deepen Austria's tourism connection with the Philippines.

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Surpasses 1.2 Million International Visitors in Early 2024

The Philippines has welcomed over 1.2 million international visitors in just the first few months of 2024, marking a promising start for the country's tourism industry. Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco announced this achievement at the Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) 2024 Convention in Berlin, Germany, highlighting a significant increase in tourists compared to previous years.

As of March 5, the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported that the Philippines saw 1,227,815 tourists from January to March 2024, as reported by Adobo Magazine. This number is up by 22.86% from the same period last year, with most visitors coming from foreign countries. South Korea, the United States, China, Japan, and Canada are the top five countries sending tourists to the Philippines, showcasing diverse international interest in the country's attractions.

The Philippines' presence at the ITB 2024, led by Secretary Frasco and a large delegation, aims to showcase the nation's beautiful destinations and culture. The Philippine pavilion featured local designs and hosted meetings to promote tourism. Highlights included award-winning destinations and cultural performances that captivated visitors.

Secretary Frasco expressed gratitude towards those who support Philippine tourism and emphasized the country's commitment to showcasing its unique culture and natural beauty. The report also stated that with a target of 7.7 million arrivals this year, the early success suggests a bright future for tourism in the Philippines, benefiting local employment and economies across the nation.

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