2012 typhoon. Arabian Travel Market (ATM), travel and tourism exhibition in the Middle East, has named the Philippines as the recipient of the New Frontiers Award 2013 during a special seminar event held on the second day of the show. “The Philippines, its government and its people, have shown remarkable fortitude and a stoic determination to get both communities and the local economy back on track following the devastation wreaked by Typhoon Bopha late last year, and their resilience in the face of such a monumental crisis is commendable,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
The award was made in recognition of the Philippines’ ongoing efforts to rebuild physical infrastructure and its tourism economy in the wake of the December 2012 typhoon, which affected 6.2 million people in the south of the country leaving close to one million displaced persons. Accepting the award, Benito C Bengzon Jr, Assistant Secretary, International Tourism Promotions, Department of Tourism Middle East office – Philippines, said: “The Philippine government, under the administration of President Aquino, and the Department of Tourism have worked hand-in-hand to establish tourism as a major generator of income for the people and the country. At times of adversity, such as this, the determined spirit of our countrymen, supported by assistance from the international community, shines through and, it is this same spirit that is driving our tourism industry forward.”
Typhoon Bopha was the deadliest in the world in 2012, damaging more than 216,000 houses and leveling large tracts of land including key public infrastructure and agricultural communities. The subsequent development of the Typhoon Bopha Action Plan for Recovery requested US$65 million to provide immediate life-saving aid and support to the most-affected communities, with a total of US$76 million required to administer 46 projects through to the end of H1 2013 in order to fast track economic regeneration. According to the latest figures released by the country’s Department of Tourism, tourist traffic to the Philippines from the Middle East is showing steady growth with visitor arrivals for the first three months of the year showing a 22.1% growth against the same period last year.