Philippine Embassy in Russia
18 август 2022 г.
TOURISM is a major economic sector and arguably the worst affected industry during the global COVID-19 lockdowns. Now that many countries have opened up, and with everybody’s natural wanderlust, tourism is key to global and national post-pandemic economic recovery. Philippine Embassy in Russia is, therefore, pleased to have today hosted and partnered with Russian tourism providers and operators to promote people-to-people contacts through travel to the Philippines, one of Condé Nast’s 40 most beautiful countries in the world, and where three of Travel and Leisure magazine’s most beautiful islands in the world — Boracay, Palawan and Cebu — tease and tempt the wanderlust of travelers from all over the world, including Russians. Ambassador Igor Bailen’s closing remarks at the event:
“Thank you very much, good afternoon, and welcome to the Philippine Embassy!
“I am very happy and very honored to see all of you!
“May I acknowledge UNEX Tour Operators, particularly Director Andrey Zorin and Sales Manager Yulia Vlasova, for initiating this event with the Embassy.
“I also wish to thank Ms. Nataliya Calmuc of Uni-Orient Travel Inc., Mr. Konstantin Yakyshev of the Shangri-La Group, and Ms. Alyona Ziuzina of Qatar Airways.
“And while she already left to catch her flight, let me mention Ms. Evgeniya Russiyanova of Access Russia, who represented the Philippine Department of Tourism in delivering the latest updates about the entry protocols of the Philippines during the seminar.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the COVID-19 pandemic was extremely difficult for everyone, including the Philippines and Russia. While the worst may be over, we are not yet completely out of the woods. We are still trying to understand how it is changing the world. We are still trying to calculate the costs, and we may never succeed, because the costs of this pandemic goes far beyond money.
“Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors in every country, it is probably the biggest employer outside government, if not bigger. And tourism was probably the worst affected industry during the pandemic. Nothing moved, no one moved, except the virus, government response, and health workers.
“But we are still alive, and life is about moving on, and moving forward. And wanderlust is life. And we are beginning to travel again – by land, by sea, and by air. With global health protocols now being relaxed, tourism is one of the answers to global and national economic recovery.
“Before I left Manila, I met online with the former Secretary of Tourism Ms. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who emphasized to me that the Philippines values Russian tourists. She said that compared to others, Russian tourists really save up money and spend more for their travel, with the Philippines as an increasingly enticing destination.
“Industry leader Conde Nast Traveler has named the Philippines as one of the 40 Most Beautiful Countries in the World. We have 7,640 islands, hightide, and three of them – Boracay, Palawan, and Cebu – are among the World’s Best Islands, according to Travel and Leisure magazine, another industry leader.
“Let me quote Secretary of Tourism Christina Garcia-Frasco, who comes from Cebu. She says, “The natural beauty of a country can truly shine through, when we are united in heralding our best qualities.”
“As the best tourism professionals in the largest country in the world, you know, probably more than I do, what the Philippines can offer to the Russian traveler. I am very confident that the updates and new information you learned today will be very helpful in filling up the planes and hotels in the Philippines, and contribute to the economic recovery of both the Philippine and Russian tourism markets.
“When I was living in New York many years ago, our Department of Tourism worked with tourism professionals and the Filipino community to organize the annual Winter Escapade from the US and Canada to the Philippines around January and February. These usually culminated in the presidential palace in Manila, with a photo opportunity with the President of the Philippines. With this experience, and knowing that winters are better in Russia than anywhere else, I know that we can also have our own Winter Escapade from Moscow to Boracay. I look forward to joining the first Russian Winter Escapade to the Philippines, perhaps this January.
“To conclude, let me recall that the Philippines and Russia will celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations in 2026. In 1976, President Ferdinand Marcos Sr opened diplomatic relations with Moscow, and he also visited Saint Petersburg. But people-to-people contact between Filipinos and Russians go much further. Three hundred years ago, yes in 1722, a strategy had been suggested to Peter the Great to “explore the Far East via India and the Philippines to establish trade links”. This became a reality in 1817 when Manila became the first Russian honorary consulate general in Southeast Asia – Tsar Alexander I appointed Peter Dobell, an Irish-American businessman naturalized as Russian, to the position. While Spain refused to recognize the Russian mission in Manila, Dobell was allowed to stay as Russia’s unofficial representative in the Philippines.
“Now more than ever, people-to-people contacts, in tourism – as well as in culture – are essential. Filipinos and Russians share similar family values, based on our shared Christian heritage. More and more Filipinos are becoming increasingly intrigued and fascinated by Russia, and the middle classes with disposable income are looking towards Russia as their next great destination – Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Lake Baikal, to name the Russian treasures that have captured the Filipino wanderlust.
“I am the ambassador for Philippine tourism in Russia, but with your help and support, I also want to become the ambassador for Russian tourism in my country.
“The Philippine Embassy looks forward to further working closely with you to promote two-way travel between the Philippines and Russia!
“On behalf of my team in the Philippine Embassy in Russia, thank you very much to UNEX and partners and sponsors for coming and joining us today, and I hope to see you all again soon!
“But wait, there’s more! Before I let you go, we will be giving away a few prizes to some lucky guests, and I invite Vice Consul Catherine Alpay to preside over the raffle.”