Pinoys abroad urged: bring home a friend
The Department of Tourism (DOT) is reviving next month the “Bring Home a Friend” program to involve more Filipinos in bringing in foreign visitors to the country.
The program was introduced by the administration of President Fidel Ramos in 1994 to boost the tourism industry.
The revival is timed with the onset of the traditionally long Christmas season and will run up to summer next year, Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said in a press conference on Tuesday.
“We would like to close the year strongly for the tourism industry in terms of visitor arrivals and carry the momentum into the coming year,” Teo said.
The DOT, she said, decided to revive the program to encourage Filipinos to invite their foreign friends to visit the Philippines.
The Filipino sponsors, who reside either in the Philippines or overseas, stand to win great prizes, adding excitement to the program that will run for six months from Oct. 15, 2017, up to April 15, 2018.
“This shall be a thrilling experience for us Filipinos, who are known for our genuine hospitality and for celebrating Christmas for the longest time. If you have friends, invite them to the Philippines and both of you might win prizes,” Teo said.
Major prizes awaiting the sponsors include a condo unit from Megaworld Corp., a brand-new Toyota Vios and a gift certificate from Duty Free Philippines worth P200,000.
Foreign visitors, on the other hand, stand to win round-trip international flight tickets and tour packages to Palawan, Cebu and Davao.
To join, the sponsor must register through the Bring Home a Friend portal, which will be made accessible through the DOT’s official website.
Registration may also be accomplished at booths that will soon to be set up at selected international airports in the Philippines.
The winners will be determined on the number of foreign guests they can bring in.
The number of eligible entries will also depend on the points they earn corresponding to the guest’s country of origin: Asia and Oceania/Australia, 2 points; and Africa, Middle East, Europe and America, 3 points.
The more foreign friends the sponsors invite, the more entries they can submit. The winning entries will be drawn through electronic raffle.
Assistant Tourism Secretary Frederick Alegre, spokesperson for the DOT, said the agency expected great interest and excitement for the revived Bring Home a Friend program because of the availability of social media, unlike in 1994, the year the Philippines connected to the internet.
Priority targets of the program are expatriates or Filipinos who already have foreign citizenships and who are not living in the Philippines; foreigners with Filipino parentage or ancestry, especially those in North America; and the so-called specialty travelers such as food trippers, divers, surfers, mountaineers, or those who are into cultural-historical tours.
According to the 2015 report of the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are 9.1 million overseas Filipinos. More than 3 million are in the United States, while more than 2 million are in the Middle East.
Other countries where there are large numbers of Filipinos are Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Italy and Australia.
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