Filipinos’ positive outlook; typhoon-rebuilding efforts recognized by the Middle East

May 27, 2013 11:58 pm 

MANILA, May 27 — For putting on a happy face in the midst of great challenges, the Philippines has gained recognition from a Middle Eastern award-giving body, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT) on Monday.

The country received the New Frontiers Award 2013 at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the Middle East’s premier travel and tourism exhibition.

This award gives tribute to the resilience of local communities to rebuild their lives and bring attention to the crisis management and risk reduction practices of local authorities.

Together with New York State (Hurricane Sandy) and Pakistan (2012 floods), the Philippines was shortlisted among an original list of 10 nominees for the outstanding contribution to tourism development in the face of overwhelming adversity.

CRYSTAL TROPHY

The delegation was composed of 14 organizations representing nine tour operators, four hotel and resort companies and an airline company.

Among the awards the Philippines obtained included a crystal trophy with a free exhibition space at the ATM worth US $ 10,000.

The award is in recognition of the continuing efforts to rebuild infrastructure and tourism economy after Typhoon Pablo (international name: Bopha) that wrought havoc in December 2012.

It is deemed the world’s deadliest last year, leaving millions homeless and infrastructure and agricultural farms vastly damaged.

FORTITUDE AND DETERMINATION

DOT Assistant Secretary Benito Bengzon Jr., who led the Philippine delegation to ATM, received the award from Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director of Reed Travel Exhibitions.

“The Philippines, its government and its people, has shown remarkable fortitude and a stoic determination to get both communities and the local economy back on track following the devastation wreaked by Typhoon Bopha late last year, and their resilience in the face of such a monumental crisis is commendable,” Walsh said in a statement.

Bengzon said that at times of adversity, it was the determined spirit of Filipinos supported by assistance from the international community that drove the country’s tourism industry forward.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. also said the country’s record-breaking performance and new highs of the industry clearly indicate that partnerships are bearing fruit.

RISING FROM THE ASHES

“Despite these crises, we remain undaunted and focused in showing our visitors that we are worth visiting,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez said that what made the Philippines more fun was its people—“the bayanihan spirit, amplified during crisis”.

“[It] is a unique social phenomenon that will forever drive the Filipinos to remain steadfast and dependent on each other for strength, through good times and bad,” Jimenez said.

“That in the midst of great challenges, we still manage to put on a happy face,” he added. (PNA)

LAM/JMC/ANP

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