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PH tourism’s “bring home a friend” kicks off in LA

Indy 500 racing rising star Neil Alberico (center) poses with former Carson City Mayor Jim Dear and a female fan after the Philippine tourism department’s “Bring Home a Friend” kick off ceremony at the Carson City Community Center on Friday. Photo © Abner Galino

THE Philippine Department of Tourism on Friday has kicked off IN Los Angeles the old “Bring Home a Friend” campaign in Carson City.

The kick off ceremony was highlighted by the presentation of the DoT’s Filipino American Ambassadors of Goodwill that included LA Lakers rising star Jordan Clarkson, boxer Brian Viloria and racing upcoming idol Neil Alberico.

Alberico, however, was the only one who came to grace the ceremony.

Nevertheless, Clarkson and Viloria sent videos where they expressed support to the Philippine tourism efforts, particularly the “Bring Home a Friend” campaign.

Alberico revealed, in a brief talk, that he has been constantly coming back and forth to the Philippines since he was a child.

“I love the Philippines and I am proud of my Filipino heritage, that’s why I’m all out to support all efforts to promote tourism there,” Alberico said.

Binibining Pilipinas-USA Tourism 2017 Kylie Nishida and Binibining Pilipinas Teen USA 2017 Asia Aragon also came to pitch in for the campaign.

Bring Home a Friend was introduced by former tourism secretary Dr. Mina Gabor in 1994, during the term of President Fidel Ramos.

The campaign, which offers perks and big prizes for both the tourists and their sponsors, will run from October 15, 2017 up to April 17, 2018. The period covers the traditional long Christmas season in the Philippines and the succeeding summer months.

Filipino sponsors, who reside either in the Philippines or overseas, could win a condo unit from Megaworld Corp., a brand-new Toyota Vios and a gift certificate from Duty Free Philippines worth P200,000.

Foreign visitors, on the other hand, could win round-trip international flight tickets and tour packages to Palawan, Cebu and Davao.

The winners will be determined by the number of foreign guests they can bring in.

In a press release posted on the DOT website, the department said “the sponsor must duly register via the Bring Home a Friend webpage accessible via DOT’s website tourism.gov.ph. Registration may also be accomplished at BHAF booths soon to be set up at selected international airports in the Philippines.”

“The number of eligible entries will also depend on the points they earn corresponding to the guest’s country of origin: Asia and Oceania/Australia: 2; Africa, Middle East, Europe, and America: 3.”

“Based on the 2015 report of the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are 9.1 million overseas Filipinos, more than three million of whom reside in the United States of America while more than two million are based in the Middle East.”

“Other countries with large numbers of Filipinos are Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Italy, and Australia.”

“Employees of the DoT and all of its attached agencies, and their relatives up to the third degree are not allowed to join BHAF.”

The DOT believes that internet and the social media, which were still in their infancy in 1994, would greatly contribute to the success of the Bring Home A Friend campaign.

The campaign wants to target Filipinos who have foreign citizenship or expatriates and foreigners with Filipino parentage or ancestry.

Bring Home a Friend also seeks to entice specialty travelers such as food trippers, divers, surfers, mountaineers and tourists who have interests in cultural-historical tours.

Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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