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Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

The Philippines is ready to host ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2006

It is all systems go for the Philippines as it gears up to host the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Tourism Forum (ATF) 2006…

It is all systems go for the Philippines as it gears up to host the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Tourism Forum (ATF) 2006 in Davao City from 13 to 21 January next year.

ATF will be held in the Philippines a year ahead of schedule. Myanmar, the original host of the 2006 event, announced in July it was giving up the 2006-2007 chairmanship of ASEAN. Each year, the hosting of ATF is rotated among ASEAN member countries.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed Memorandum Order number 189, directing the Secretary of Tourism to organise and create a Philippine Host Committee and/or an inter-agency task force to prepare and implement the activities and programmes for ATF 2006. The memorandum also enjoins all departments, bureaus, offices, national government agencies and local government units, and government-owned and/or controlled corporations to give full support, assistance and cooperation to the Tourism Secretary in organising the region`s premier travel trade event. Preparations by the Philippine Host Committee (PHC) are now in overdrive. The timely turnover of ATF 2006 in the Philippines provides a strong impetus for the country to gear towards attaining ASEAN solidarity in spite of adversities. Department of Tourism (DOT) and Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation (PCVC) officials together with the Davao Tourism Host Council are highly optimistic that with the combined efforts, diligence, dedication and talents of their top-caliber staff experienced in convention event organizing and planning, the prospects are bright for ATF 2006 to be a breakthrough for Philippine tourism.

TTG Asia Media, which the PHC has appointed to organise the ASEAN Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) 2006, the travel fair component of ATF, has fast-tracked preparations for the fair and is assisting the Host Committee with ATF 2006 logistical and promotional requirements. TTG Asia Media managing director, Mr Darren Ng, said: We are delighted to be part of this momentous occasion for tourism in the Philippines and the ASEAN region. TTG Asia Media has organised several ATFs in the past, including the 1998 event in Cebu. We are confident that, despite the very short lead-time to prepare for the TRAVEX in Davao next year, the synergies between the Philippine Host Committee and TTG Asia Media will result in a professional, productive, and well received ATF 2006.

Davao City, the host destination for ATF 2006, is ready to put up the best show possible. The Davao Host Council, chaired by Davao City mayor, Mr Rodrigo Duterte, is preparing a weeklong celebration of the colours and flavours of Mindanao during ATF to change misperceptions in the international market about the city. Hotels are refurbishing their facilities to ensure a warm and hospitable stay for delegates. Fourteen properties have been designated as official ATF 2006 hotels. The Council`s beautification committee is looking at increasing the streetlights and widening the city`s roads.

The official ATF 2006 website, www.atfdavao.com, contains comprehensive information on all ATF activities. Registrations have been pouring in since the website went online last week. All registrations and bookings for ATF 2006 are fully automated, with the information being captured automatically for the appointment scheduling between buyers and sellers.

The theme of ATF 2006, Celebrating The Many Faces Of ASEAN, salutes ASEAN`s tremendous strides in bringing to life the principle of Unity In Diversity and highlights the need to follow through on initiatives to strengthen regional tourism cooperation while supporting the tourism aspirations of individual member countries.

TRAVEX will be held from 18 to 20 January 2006 at the NCCC Exhibition Centre, which is renovating its facilities to accommodate over 400 booths. TRAVEX 2006 is expected to draw over 800 seller delegates from the ASEAN region and 430 specialists from key markets as buyers and media. The official media partners of ATF 2006 are TTG Asia, Travel Weekly, and Travel Trade Report. Philippine Airlines (PAL) is the official air carrier of ATF 2006. Apart from providing courtesy and discounted tickets, PAL heads the ATF 2006 Air Transportation Committee.

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