Following its last tourism activity for 2017, Department of Tourism (DOT) Calabarzon said 2018 is expected to witness a more vibrant tourism promotion.
"By next year, we will have more training to improve our human resources, we will be putting our thrust to ecotourism, farm tourism, and faith tourism to strenghten emerging and developing destinations," DOT-Region IV-A Regional Director Rebecca Villanueva-Labit told the Philippine News Agency.
"We have everything in the region, we have so many things to offer," she said. "The strength of this region is actually the goodness of the spirit of all our partners, the private sectors, the public sectors and the local government units."
During the 4th Calabarzon Tourism Summit, two were named destinations of the year, namely Quezon province, which gathered 6.6 million same-day tourists for 2016 and Laguna province, which gathered 1.22 million overnight visitors.
While still on the process of collating and consolidating reports gathered from the local government unit for 2017 tourist arrival data, Labit said DOT-Calabarzon expects a brim on the 26 million same-day tourists they had in 2016, and that they "will be able to generate 20 percent increase" and for overnight staying visitors of 4.5 million in 2016, at least 20 to 25 percent increase.
For Calabarzon, Villanueva-Labit said DOT wanted to focus more on farm tourism for next year given they have the most numbers of accredited farm tourism sites in the country.
To jumpstart, she said DOT already tapped the Batang Filipino Farmers, a group of young students who dedicates time in educating the youth on the "beauty" of agriculture, to be their partner.
Meanwhile, part of the summit's program was the launching of Bring Home a Friend campaign in Calabarzon.
Delivering the message of Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, DOT media director Ina Zara-Loyola said the revival of the campaign, which was first conceived in 1994, was to again "tap into the patriotism of Filipinos" by making all nationals abroad in the country "ambassadors of goodwill".
Quoted by Loyola, Teo said Bring Home a Friend campaign is a "way of saying to a friend that they are welcome here" and "affirmation" of Filipino hospitality.
Bring Home a Friend program entices all Filipino to invite foreigner friends to visit the country by giving them chances to win hefty raffle prizes for every foreigners brought into the Philippines.
Prizes include a Megaworld Eastwood Le Grand condominium unit, a brand new Toyota Vios, and a PHP200,000 worth of Duty Free gift certificate. (PNA)