From the 28th to the 31st day of July, about 300 Filipino-Americans and their main- stream American friends will arrive from the United States for the 9th Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour of the Philippines (ACGTDT). These visitors will be here to relax, enjoy and spend precious time with families and friends as well as explore investment and retirement possibilities here at home.
Calesa Ride in Intramuros Manila
Launched in 2005 during the term of then Philippine Ambassador the United States and now Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, the ACGTDT is a joint project of all Philippine Foreign Service missions in the U.S. located in Agana, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.
As in the past years, the ACGTDT is being implemented in cooperation with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and its marketing arm, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB). In July 2011, it was designated as a banner tourism project under the DOT’s Pinoy Homecoming Program. Major sponsors include the Western Union, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, Duty-Free Philippines, and Philippine Retirement Authority.
“Through this successful tour program, we are able to entice Filipino-Americans as well as their friends in the U.S to visit us and to deepen their appreciation of the history, heritage and culture of our country and the natural warmth of our people. Aside from being a safe place to travel, the Philippines is one of the best places for medical and wellness tourism as well as a retirement haven,” said Chief Operating Officer Domingo Ramon C. Enerio III of the TPB.
This year, tour participants will arrive to a VIP reception with sampaguita leis at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
ACGTDT’s basic tour package consists of an international round-trip airfare to and from Manila via Philippines Airlines, four days/three nights hotel accommodation at the Dusit Thani Hotel, daily buffet breakfast and two lunches, a welcome dinner with entertainment at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel and a fellowship night hosted by Western Union.
According to the TPB, the participants are also slated to join the wreath-laying ceremony at the historic Rizal Monument in Luneta, a photo opportunity with President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in Malacañang Palace plus a tour of its museum and luncheon at the Heroes Hall.
Fort Santiago in Intramuros
Special tours include Corregidor, Intramuros, Metropolitan Museum at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Manila Ocean Park, and spa treatments at Wensha.
To cap this year’s visit, the participants will be brought via guided tours to the luxurious resort of Pico de Loro Cove at Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas. They will arrive to a festive welcome of native songs and dances with rondalla music. The ‘Star for All Seasons”, now Provincial Governor, Vilma Santos-Recto, and Nasugbu Mayor Charito Apacible will personally join them throughout their stay at Hamilo Coast.
A sumptuous lunch Southern Tagalog-style will be served with a cultural show. The afternoon is left free for indoor games and outdoor sports, especially island-hopping, swimming, snorkelling, underwater diving. This area is renowned for being part of the “center of the center of the world’s biodiversity,” where more 65% of the world’s marine species can be found.
Meanwhile, Rajah Tour Philippines, the tour handler for the past eight ACGTDTs, has arranged optional out-of-town tours available for participants who want to have added travel experience in other Philippine destinations like Laoag-Vigan, Cagayan de Oro-Camiguin, Southern Luzon Golf Tours, Davao, Cebu-Bohol, Iloilo-Bacolod, Kalibo-Boracay, Camarines Sur-Albay, and Puerto Princesa-Palawan.
According to DoT’s most recent industry performance report, for the first half of 2014, visitors from the United States (Fil-Ams, Americans and visiting Overseas Filipino Workers) constituted the second biggest arrivals for the period.
“We encourage Filipinos here to invite their relatives and friends in the U.S. and, even in Canada, to plan and book for these tours, especially for “Visit Philippines 2015,” Enerio enthused.
For more information visit www.acgtdt.com.