The Department of Tourism (DOT) hosted a welcome luncheon to a group of 32 senior Japanese tourists who were in the country recently for a memorial tour of the Philippines.
Organized by the Gunma Philippine Society (GPS), the biennial Memorial Tour of the Philippines aims to promote and enhance peace and understanding between the people of Japan and the Philippines through tourism. The tour brought the Japanese seniors to Corregidor, Angeles, Baguio, Banaue, and Nueva Ecija, where the visitors offered prayers for their family members who were assigned in the Philippines during World War II.
The visiting Japanese seniors are from the Gunma Prefecture in central Japan. Gunma is an inland prefecture home to specialties including silk fabric and okirikomi, a local dish representative of the prefecture’s unique wheat culture.
According to Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, “Japanese travelers have historically contributed significantly to Philippine tourism. We welcome every opportunity to promote the country to the Japanese market, especially to the silver market who may find it a perfect haven where they can spend their retirement years.”
Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions Eduardo Jarque, Jr. said, “Among many other niche markets, the Philippines also look to the senior Japanese market to further invigorate the country’s tourism industry. What we can give them is a promise that the Philippines, with its health and wellness products and wonderful gifts of nature, can indeed cater to the aspirations and lifestyle of the senior Japanese populace.”
In his speech during the welcome luncheon, DOT Team Japan Head, Director Benito C. Bengzon, Jr. said, “The regular conduct of the tours is very important in fostering friendship and goodwill between the Philippines and Japan.”
DOT also awarded plaques of appreciation to members of the Gunma Philippine Society and distributed souvenir shirts and dried mangoes, a Japanese favourite, to the group. In return, GPS Chairman Zensuke Hara vowed to continue organizing the Memorial Tours to the Philippines.