The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Monday formally launched its new promotional project that would herald the country’s rich heritage, arts, and culture through a series of caravans in the first quarter of 2023.
Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco launched the Philippine Experience: Culture Heritage, and Arts Caravans on Monday at the Philippine Tourism Industry Convergence Reception attended by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., First Lady Louise Araneta Marcos, Vice President Sara Z. Duterte, and top officials and executives of the various tourism industries.
“The Philippines ushers in a new era for tourism built upon the strength of our cultural identity, our unity as a nation, and renewed global interest in our country’s offerings. Our shared tourism governance will spell the success of our aspirations for a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient tourism industry. Together, we will transform the Philippines into a tourism powerhouse in Asia,” the tourism chief said, noting that the DOT is positive on the prospects of tourism recovery and economic resurgence as the Philippines has remained a top-of-mind destination among international travelers this year having earned numerous accolades from prestigious award-giving bodies and travel publications.
The launch of the caravans is part of the recalibration of tourism products centered around the country’s “Filipino-ness” and its unique and defining cultural attributes as a nation.
The project will highlight the Filipino brand and identity in all aspects of the travel and tourism experience which will facilitate cultural tourism circuit development focused on heritage, culture, and arts to enhance current tour and domestic circuit offerings, which include thematic experiences on Food and Gastronomy, Pilgrimage and Wellness, Festivals, Living Cultures and Heritage, and the Arts.
It also aims to link key destinations to lesser-known destinations, as well as expand the country’s tourism portfolio which includes sun and beach offerings, nature-based tourism, diving, food, education, health, MICE, and farm tourism.
Frasco, who is a native of Cebu and the former mayor of Liloan town, said the program drew inspiration from the province’s Suroy Suroy Sugbo, a tourism promotion, and marketing strategy initiated by her mother Gov. Gwendolyn F. Garcia in 2008 and continues until this day.
The tourism chief emphasized that the campaign has successfully repositioned the province as a prime destination not only for its white sand beaches and dive spots but as a tourist magnet for underrated tourism gems which was done through a massive community-based participatory cultural mapping program in all the towns and cities of the province to document their natural and cultural heritage assets.
According to Frasco, the Philippine Experience Program Culture, Heritage, and Arts Caravans is an expansion of the concept to cover all the regions of the country with the aim “ to diversify the cultural tourism product offerings of the country, equalize opportunities across the regions, support the preservation of the country’s heritage, and artistic resources and assets, and instill a sense of pride and patriotism among the Filipino people through a greater appreciation of the country’s inheritance and legacy”.
During the program, DOT Regional Directors gave a glimpse of the Philippine Experience caravans by donning their respective regional traditional attire while showcasing local symbols and icons of the Cordilleras, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog MIMAROPA, National Capital Region, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao region, SOCCSKSARGEN, and CARAGA.