The Philippines and Cambodia on Wednesday signed four contracts that are expected to boost the bilateral cooperation between the two Southeast Asian neighbors.
The agreements, signed during the state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte in Cambodia, include two Memorandum of Agreements (MOA) concerning the cooperation in the field of labor and on sports cooperation.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation in combating transnational crime and Implementing Program of Tourism Cooperation of 2016-2020 were also reached between two countries.
The Philippines' Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo and the Ministry of Tourism of the Kingdom of Cambodia represented by Fr. Thong Khon signed an agreement that will start a series of programs that aims to revitalize tourism relations between the two countries.
Also present in the signing at the Peace Palace in the country's capital Phnom Pehn, were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Secretaries Perfecto Yasay, Jr. (DFA), Silvestre Bello III (DOLE), Delfin Lorenzana (DND), Ramon Lopez (DTI) and Bong Go (PMS).
Having forged an agreement, Teo said she expects a significant increase in the visitor arrivals from Cambodia, noting that this year's January to August visitor arrivals from Cambodia registered a meager 2,381.
On the other hand, the Philippines provided for a steady number of arrivals for the country.
In 2015, the Philippines can be accounted for 84,677 visitor arrivals to Cambodia, and for the first half of this year, the number is at 70,680.
"Now is the best time to involve our Cambodian friends in our Tourism programs and initiatives. We would be happy to help them further as they promised to do the same for us," Teo said.
According to the Tourism Cooperation pact signed, air accessibility and route development will be given priority.
"Coordination with respective airline companies and civil aviation authorities will be undertaken towards the launch of direct flights from Manila to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap," Teo disclosed.
The Tourism Cooperation Treaty between the two countries also stipulates the creation of a Joint working group that will serve as platform for both countries to present their corresponding environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tourism development and cultural preservation programs, as well as, experiences in the governance of the tourism industry, enforcement of tourism laws and regulations, and conservation of cultural heritage sites.
Teo said it also has been agreed upon that the 3rd Joint working group will meet in Siem Reap in June 2017 while the fourth meeting will take place in the Philippines in the last quarter of 2017.
To strengthen awareness of tourism destinations and products in both countries, familiarization tours and exchange programs for tourism and hospitality students and professionals will be further enhanced, according to the agreement.
Source: Philippines News Agency