The annual Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) set on July 11-17, 2009 is targeting around 500 participants from the United States and Canada.
A joint project of the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Trade and Industry, the ACGTDT aims to promote the Philippines’ top tourism spots to second and third generation Filipino-Americans.
First held in 2005, the ACGTDT is a yearly program that involves highest ranking Philippine officials in the US leading the call for Filipino-Americans and their families to visit their motherland.
It’s a homecoming for the first generation and a discovery of roots for the young, according to Tourism Secretary Ace Durano. “We encourage them to come home and bring the younger generation with them to introduce our country’s heritage, history and homegrown charm. And when they go back, we hope their visit encourages them to become tourism ambassadors of their own country,” Durano added.
Another highlight of the program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and have lunch with her. Also included are; a wreath-laying ceremony at the Rizal monument, and tours of Corregidor, Villa Escudero, Laguna Loop, Taal, Tagaytay, Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, Baguio, La Union, Banaue, Sagada, Laoag, and Vigan.
“We want them to have an encompassing experience of the country. Aside from beaches, we will bring them to our heritage sites, country sides, nature trips, pilgrimages, highlands, tribal villages, culinary tours, and artists’ hometowns,” said Undersecretary Eduardo Jarque, Jr., Tourism Planning and Promotions.
They will also be treated to spectacular cultural performances by Bayanihan the Philippine National Folk Dance Company and Banda Kawayan.
Corazon Jorda-Apo, Head of DOT Team North America further explained that the campaign pushes for the country’s adventure, health and wellness, and entertainment tourism packages which are popular in the US market. “We will also present the country’s viable areas for investments in livelihood, retirement and medical tourism businesses,” mentioned Jorda-Apo.