SPAIN  TO  BRING  MORE  TOURISTS  TO  RP  DESPITE  TERROR  THREAT

MANILA, October 14, 2005
 (STAR) By Pia Lee-Brago - Despite threats of terrorism and advisories against travel to the Philippines, Spanish tourists and investors will continue to visit the country starting this year, the Spanish embassy said yesterday.

Speaking during yesterday’s celebration of Spanish Day, Jose Miguel Cortes, Spanish embassy economic and commercial counselor, said Spain has been discussing with Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano how to interest the Spanish tourism sector in the investment possibilities available in the Philippines.

"We also try to bring the interest of Spanish travel agencies into the Philippine market, in terms of sending Spanish tourists to the Philippines," he said.

"Unfortunately, you never see the Philippines in brochures of travel agencies. On the other hand, you see Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, because of their resorts. But those are already oldies," Cortes said.

Cortes told Durano the DOT should make an effort because Spanish tourists travel and spend a lot.

"We agreed that they will make an effort, and bring in first some journalists from Spain who talk of the Philippines and some executives of travel agencies," he said. "They are considering to do that within this year."

Asked if the threat of terrorism and advisories against travel to the Philippines were a primary concern, Cortes said the Spanish government can advise its nationals about the places they should avoid here.

"Not so much (security)," he said. With the situation today, the Spanish embassy has not issued any travel advisories, not even after the March 11 bombings in Madrid last year.

"We’re not so much concerned about it. If someone asks we just tell them to avoid dangerous places either in Manila or other places," Cortes said.

Many Spanish tourists go to Vietnam during July or August, he added.

Cortes said Spanish tourism companies are among the strongest investors in the world.

"Not so much in Asia, and least of all in the Philippines," he said. "But they are among strongest investors in some eastern European countries, in the US and Latin America.

"They don’t have the Philippines in mind. We want to support the tourism department," he said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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