26 March 2015 – The 10th Ambassador, Consuls General, and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) was launched on March 21 in Southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It was organized by the Philippine Consulate General in New York in cooperation with the Filipino Executive Council of Greater Philadelphia (FECGP) and the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce (PACC) of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey at the Philippine Center in Cherry Hill.
In his remarks, Philippine Consul General De Leon said that community members can help in promoting ACGTDT to Filipino-Americans and tourism to mainstream Americans, including students. Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia are areas which host many universities and colleges. American students as well as academic institutions can be encouraged by the Filipino community to consider the Philippines as a destination for short-term study abroad and immersion, particularly in the areas of social entrepreneurship and social tourism.
Ms. Ruth Luyun of FECGP thanked the Consulate General and community members for their support to the activity, noting that its objective is to help the country through tourism promotion. Meantime, Mr. Baldia of PACC invited participants to get involved in the community through the White House Initiative on Asia-Americans and Pacific Islanders Initiative where a small business boot camp open to small business owners will be held in Philadelphia on April 21.
Ms. Azucena Pallugna, representing the Philippine Department of Tourism-New York, gave a brief presentation on the ACGTDT travel packages and encouraged participants to join this year’s expanded tour which includes Cebu. She added that this year has also been designated as Visit Philippines year 2015 by the Department of Tourism.
The ACGTDT activity was made possible through the assistance and sponsorship of the Filipino community of the FECGP led by its current President, Ms. Ruth Luyun, and supported by PACC-PA led by Executive Director Mr. Brad Baldia.
The Consulate General hopes to cap promotional activities on ACGTDT with a similar activity in New York City by May.
Community members also welcomed the resumption of flights to the US East Coast of Philippine Airlines, as represented by Ms. Michelle Narvaez. PAL is currently providing four flights weekly Manila-New York via John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK airport) with a layover in Vancouver. A short Q&A and feedback session on PAL followed. Certain challenges experienced by Filipino travelers were discussed, such as lack of direct flights from Philadelphia necessitating a shuttle service from southern New Jersey to JFK airport in New York, and competitive rates offered by other Asian airlines. END