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Durano lauds Ricciardone’s support for RP tourism
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: By Jaser A. Marasigan
Date: 2005-03-08
For the first time in many years, the US Embassy will soon open its doors to local and foreign tourists for scheduled guided tours. Filipinos, particularly, will finally have a glimpse of that part of their history which may only be found inside the US Embassy.

In a recent rites commemorating the 60th anniversary of the raising of the American flag in front of the US Embassy, Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano lauded Ambassador Francis Ricciardone for his support to Philippine tourism.

"I am deeply grateful to Ambassador Ricciardone for showing the international community that the Philippines remains a safe place to visit. His trip to Davao City and his plan to welcome tourists inside the US Embassy only proves that there is nothing to fear here in our country," said Durano.

The US Embassy used to house the American High Commission during the liberation of Manila in 1945. "I find it very interesting to have learned that the ballroom of the US Embassy once served as the courtroom for the war crime trials of Japanese military officers, including Lt. General Homma, the commander of Japanese troops during the Bataan Death March, and General Yamashita, the Japanese forces’ last commander in the Philippines," Durano added.

Ricciardone also clarified that "there was no travel advisory against the Philippines but only a public statement advising Americans in the country not to go to places that are not considered safe even by the Filipinos themselves."

The head of the US Embassy was in Davao City just a week ago to attend the closing ceremonies of the joint US-RP Baker Piston 05-01 anti-narcotics training held at the Philippine National Police (PNP) regional training center in Barangay Mintal.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DoT) is currently intensifying its marketing campaign in the US through participation in key travel and trade fairs and exhibitions, such as the American Society of Travel Agents World Congress and Travel Show, ASEAN evening for Travel Show and Writers, Adventures in Travel Expo, Philippine Seminar PATA Baltimore and Washington D.C. Chapters, 2005 Life Insurance and Market Research Association International Annual Meeting, and the Advertorial in Northwest Magazine, all in New York.

Last year, the DoT’s Research and Statistics Office registered 478,091 arrivals from the US posting a growth rate of 23.3 percent against 387,879 arrivals in 2003.


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