November 18, 2004 (STAR) C‘EST CEBU By Honey Jarque Loop - The Mactan Airline Operations Council (MAOC), chaired by Fermin Zamora, the driven general manager of Asian Spirit, celebrated its third anniversary with cocktails and dinner at Café Adriatico at Crossroads in uptown Cebu. Zamora welcomed the positive attitude and full support of the Department of Tourism and assured members that the goals and objectives of MAOC would be more relevant and important in the years to come.

With the increase in passenger traffic, MAOC is committed to provide opportunities for dialogue, education, advancement and improvement of all aspects of airport operations through meetings and conferences, seminars and workshops, communication and publication and other programs and activities.

Guest of honor Cebuano Tourism Secretary Ace Durano delivered an inspirational speech that evoked a vision of a bright and most promising future for the tourism industry.

Invitees included key players of the different airlines, such as Francisco Yngente of Philippine Airlines, Dindo Fernando of Cebu Pacific, Leslie Ann Dabuet representing Malaysian Airlines, Anna Cheung from Cathay Pacific together with airport services manager Janice Nabua.

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The government and the private sector are earnestly pinning their hopes on travel and tourism for the country’s bright economic future, and all efforts are presently being made to bring the different components of an integrated promotions and marketing programs and projects up to the standards with other Asian nations.

Secretary Durano has begun with a comprehensive information blitz on the current thrusts of the Tourism department.

Cebu was once again honored as the first site of an ongoing series of fora on global tourism trends held recently at the Cebu Grand Hotel, with various representatives and stakeholders of the tourism-oriented industry in attendance.

Secretary Durano clearly emphasized that the efforts of the Department of Tourism will be on the development of the four priority major international markets, namely China, Japan, Korea and the balikbayans and the promotion of the eight identified destinations to include Metro Manila, Laoag, Subic, Palawan, Cebu, Bohol, Boracay and Davao.

The Tourism Secretary focused on China as a market, because, among the many reasons, of the sheer number of Chinese nationals traveling overseas annually. Undersecretary Evelyn Pantig declared that there are over 20 million visitors coming from China, and the Philippines is only the final destination of only .16 percent of this number.

Likewise, Secretary Durano announced that the action plan for China would include the improvement of the processing of visas, attendance in travel fairs, the production of destination collaterals, print and broadcast advertising, the hosting of familiarization trips for the members of the travel trade and the media, and a tie-up with state-controlled tour wholesalers in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen that will push the tour packages of the various network.

However, the indefatigable DOT Region VII director Dawnie Roa pointed out that there is a need to review entry procedures to ensure an efficient processing of visas for Chinese travelers. To fully explain such procedure, the Tourism team was accompanied by the Department of Foreign Affairs assistant secretary Teresita Barsana, Bureau of Immigration commissioner Alipio Fernandez and Bureau of Immigration chief-in-charge of international airports Gary Mendoza.

Also present was Maria Victoria Jazmin, director for tourism standards, which is overseeing the conduct of the forum for the priority markets in different cities around the Philippines.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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