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S. Korea's Tourism Leaders Visit Manila
Joseph Ace Durano, Philippine DOT secretary greets Korean delegation in Manila.

MANILA — Officials of the influential Korea Tourism Association (KTA) will hold its board meeting and executive outbound committee conference in Manila, Philippines on 15 to 19 March, 2007, according to the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT).

"The staging of the KTA meetings in Manila is significant since it will enable us to provide first-hand experience to this umbrella group and secure favorable commitments for 2007 from its officers" said DOT Secretary Joseph H. Durano.

"Being Korea's strongest travel association, KTA has contributed substantially to the continuous influx of Korean visitors to the Philippines," Durano added as he pointed out last year's record arrivals of 572,133 from Korea, now the country's top source of foreign tourists.

The KTA officials are scheduled to make a courtesy call on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Friday afternoon (16 March) after an initial meeting in Makati City.

The meeting will continue the following day in Tagaytay City where the officials are also scheduled to play golf while their spouses and companions are initiated into the traditional Filipino spa treatment known as "hilot."

On Sunday, they will proceed to Villa Escudero in Tiaong, Quezon, and return to Manila for a night tour before leaving for Korea on Monday.

On top of the incentive-filled program, leading agencies and properties in the industry have joined hands to support the association's first off shore board meeting. Among these are Philippine Airlines, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Duty Free Philippines Incorporated and the Korea Tourism Association in the Philippines.

Around 60 KTA officers, national assembly members, spouses and accompanying persons led by chairman and chief executive Shin Joong-Mok are expected to arrive for the conference.

They include the chairmen of various local tourism associations such as Ko Wang-Chul of Pusan, Yoo Chang-Bok of Daejon, Nam Sang-Man of Seoul, Lee Hee-Do of Daegu, Kang Dae-Chul of South Chungcheong Province, and Choo Sang-Myung of South Kyeongsang Province.

In addition, the presence of over a dozen prominent members of the Korea's National Assembly in-charge of the various committees on tourism ensures the facilitation of the meeting's resolutions and pending KTA proposals; at the same time lend credence to the important occasion.

The rising number of Korean visitors has consistently pushed the country's total foreign arrivals to record highs for three years in a row — 2.29 million in 2004, 2.62 million in 2005, and 2.84 million in 2006.

Most Korean visitors include golfers, honeymooners, career women, businessmen, young professionals, and students coming over to study English as a second language.

This phenomenon has been encouraging Korean investors to enter into tourism related ventures in various parts of the archipelago, thus creating jobs, boosting rural economic activities, raising dollar revenues, widening domestic capital base, alleviating poverty, and helping supply the growing foreign demand for local tourism facilities.






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