01 October 2014 – The Philippine Consulate General in Agana participated in the first-ever observance in Guam of World Tourism Day on September 27, which is an annual global event commemorated under the auspices of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The Guam Tourism Education Council, headed by its Executive Director Heidi Ballendorf, organized the event at the Guam Premier Outlets to celebrate the importance of tourism and its impact on the island.
Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo highlighted the importance of the event by signing Proclamation No. 2014-075 declaringSeptember 27 as World Tourism Day in Guam. The proclamation mentioned that tourism is Guam’s top source of investment and should be considered the life of Guam’s economy. Guam receives some 1.3 million visitors every year. The proclamation also aimed to enhance awareness about the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.
After Governor Calvo had signed the proclamation, Philippine Consul Mark Francis C. Hamoy delivered a presentation about Philippine tourism and other travel destinations in the Philippines. He also emphasized the efforts of the Department of Tourism to make everyone in the country conscious of the fact that tourism is the people’s business. Consul Hamoy also informed the audience that next year is Visit Philippines Year 2015 and extended an open invitation for everyone to come visit the Philippines, noting that January 2015 will see the visit of Pope Francis, and that the Philippines will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings throughout the year.
Consul Hamoy also encouraged members of the audience to consider participating in the 10th Edition of the Ambassador, Consuls General, Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) in the Philippines in July 2015.
Finally, Consul Hamoy noted that although the Philippines was not able to reach its target of 5 million tourist arrivals in 2013 due to Supertyphoon Yolanda/Haiyan, the disaster showed the best of humanity as the world raced to assist the victims. Consul Hamoy thanked the government of Guam and its people for their immediate response and humanitarian aid to the victims of the supertyphoon.
Following his presentation, Consul Hamoy was asked by the different WAVE Clubs to speak at their schools about Philippine tourism.
Aside from Governor Eddie Baza Calvo and Japanese Consul General Hisatsugu Shimizu, other prominent guests at the World Tourism Day 2014 event were Professor Fred Schumann, who teaches classes on tourism at the University of Guam, members of the Board of the Tourism Education Council, executives from Pacific Islands Club Hotel, Sheraton Laguna Resort, Delta Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air, teachers and students from Untalan Middle School, Carbullido Elementary School, Liguan Elementary School, Truman Elementary School and Leon Guerrero Elementary School.