Marcos woos Japanese to learn English and study in the Philippines
TOKYO, Japan — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has invited Japanese nationals wanting to learn English to study in the Philippines, as he pitched for a boost in educational tourism.
During a roundtable meeting with tourism stakeholders on Thursday morning, Marcos said his administration is eyeing a shift from just using tourism as a “promotion arm” by also ensuring that both travelers and locals are comfortable through the development of hard and soft infrastructure in the country.
“(The tourism industry has) shifted its gaze to becoming more than just a promotion arm of the government, but also to ensuring that travel is not only convenient, connected, and equal for travelers, but as well as for locals who are living and preserving our invaluable key and emerging tourist destinations,” Marcos said.
“With this in mind, this government has set the direction to harness the development of tourism in key tourism destinations. Through this, we will make sure that hard and soft infrastructure is well-developed, from roads and bridges to medical facilities, clean water supplies, and readily accessible for tourists and locals alike,” he added.
Marcos said that educational tourism will push the industry, which contributed at least 12.9 percent to the country’s gross domestic product in 2022.
The government had reported that the 2.65 million tourist arrivals in 2022 surpassed its target despite the persistent threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For 2023, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is looking at aiming for higher tourist arrivals amid eased pandemic curbs. Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said their goal for this year is 4.8 million tourist arrivals.
“We are banking on this potential to reshape the industry to be one of the key economic drivers of the country. We are well on our way to recovery, this I assure you, with more than 2.65 million foreign visitors we have welcomed last year, that’s exceeding the initial target of 1.7 million,” Marcos said.
“Now, this is something we admire and can share with our Japanese friends, whose success in the tourism sector is profoundly etched in one’s cultural identity that has adapted and strengthened over time,” he added.
Marcos is in Tokyo for a five-day official visit from February 8-12.
The President is expected to meet members of Japan’s Imperial Family later Thursday, as well as Prime Minister Kishida Fumio at the Prime Minister’s Office.
LOOK: Tokyo streets adorned with PH flag as Japan anticipates Marcos’ arrival
Several business meetings were also scheduled for the President on Friday. He is likewise anticipated to meet with members of the press and the Filipino community on Sunday, February 12, before returning to Manila.
READ: Marcos says Japan trip different from other visits: Groundwork is already there
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