PH forges expanded tourism ties with Qatar

ENHANCED TOURISM. Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco exchanges documents with Qatar State Minister for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Philippines and Qatar on Monday (April 22, 2024) at the Malacañang Palace in Manila as President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Qatar Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani look on. Under the MOU, the Philippines and Qatar will work toward encouraging tourist flows into each country. (Photo courtesy of DOT)

The Philippines and Qatar signed on Monday a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) designed to strengthen the two nations’ growth in tourism and business. 

Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco and Qatari State Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi signed the MOU before President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the Malacañang Palace. The  MOU is one of the agreements forged during Qatar Amir’s state visit to the country.

Frasco defined the move as a “wealth of opportunities for growth as both countries explore new avenues for collaboration.”

“Under the Marcos administration, we are reintroducing the Philippines to the world on the strength of our Filipino culture, heritage, and identity, and we view our partnership with Qatar as an important part of this movement,” she added.

Under the MOU, the Philippines and Qatar will work toward encouraging tourist flows into each country.

The accord is also expected to solidify both countries’ intent to encourage tourism investments, promote familiarization visits for media and tourism experts, and further skills development of operators, employees, and specialists in tourism through seminars and specialized training.

Latest DOT data show the country has received 10,438 visitor arrivals from Qatar in 2023. Visitor arrivals have reached 3,784 from January 1 to April 20 this year.

In terms of business events, both countries have agreed to promote exhibitions and conferences attractive to tourists, promote cooperation between other relevant exhibitions and conferences among organizing agencies; encourage exchange of organizational experiences in the field of business events; encourage familiarization visits in the field of business; exchange legislations and regulations; and provide possible logistical support at the international level for hosting exhibitions and international conferences.

A joint working team between the Philippines and Qatar will be formed to establish the work program and execution and evaluation of the activities in line with the implementation of the agreement’s provisions.

Frasco shared that the DOT has worked towards strengthening Muslim-friendly and halal tourism offerings to cater to the needs of Muslim visitors.

Last June 2023, the Philippines was awarded as the Emerging Muslim-friendly Destination of the Year at the prestigious Halal in Travel Global Summit 2023.