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ATF 2016 Ready To Rock'n Roll In Manila

By DOMINICK A. MERLE

 

             That clever catchy phrase---“It’s more fun in the Philippines”--- will be put to the test once again in January when Manila plays host city to the 35th annual meeting of the Asean Tourism Forum (ATF).

 

              And judging by the show The Philippines last staged when hosting the ATF in Davao, Mindanao, the sprawling city of Manila---known as the capital of fun---will be more than up to the task.  This cosmopolitan megalopolis of 11.5-million fun-loving people doesn’t even know how to frown.

 

               The event, scheduled Jan. 18-25 at the vast SMX Convention Center, is expected to draw nearly 2,000 delegates from 50 countries.  Buyers, sellers, media representatives and various tourism officials will meet as one with one main purpose in mind, to promote the 10 member nations in the ATF as one tourist destination.

 

                “Most people describe the countries in our region as fiercely competitive,” said Ramon R. Jiminez Jr., Secretary of Tourism for The Philippines.  “But when one realizes that the more the countries compete,  the more we help each other.”    The result, he said, would promote intra-Asean travel to all 10 nations.

 

                   The ATF’s member nations are, alphabetically, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.  The host countries change each year alphabetically since the first event in Malaysia in 1981.

 

                    The ATF events make it simple and efficient for suppliers of Asean tourism products and services and international buyers to meet one on one at pre-scheduled meetings to explore, negotiate and ink deals with each other.


 

                      So it will be business before pleasure at ATF 2016..  But in Manila, fun forever.

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