MANILA-- Potential tourists from Hong Kong were assured that improving the general condition of the Philippines is encompassed in the government's "It's more fun in the Philippines" campaign.

"Tourism promotion, particularly rural tourism, is an important mission of President Rodrigo Duterte and is included in his 10-point socio-economic agenda," Philippine Consul General to Hong Kong Antonio Morales said during a lunch reception on September 13, when the Department of Tourism conducted a business mission in Tsim Sha Tsui.

"When we say ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’, improving the general conditions in the country, including connectivity and security, is a top priority of the current administration,” he added.

The mission in Hong Kong is the last leg of a four-city tourism business mission that included Nanjing, Wuhan and Guangzhou in mainland China.

Around 170 travel agents, guests as well as Philippine hotel, tourism and travel industry representatives attended the mission, which was led by Tourism Attaché Ireneo Reyes of the DOT Shanghai Office.

The half-day program kicked-off with business-to-business meetings between Philippine sellers and Hong Kong travel agents.

The morning session was followed by the lunch reception attended by VIP guests led by Hong Kong Tourism Board Deputy Executive Director Becky Ip, Philippine Airlines Regional Manager Sindy Lin and Country Manager Leah Nicolas, Cebu Pacific Distribution Manager Bryan Ang, and Hong Kong Travel Agent Owners Association Chairman Freddy Yip.

During his remarks, Morales also underlined the longstanding and robust relations of the Philippines and Hong Kong, marked by historical significance, trade relations, people-to-people exchanges, and cultural ties.

In further enhancing tourism exchanges, the envoy said the Philippines should maximize Hong Kong’s reputation as a tourist destination, which draws more than 58 million visitors from mainland China and around the globe, to partner with the city and promote multi-destination tourism.

Hong Kong tourism and travel stakeholders, on the other hand, should take advantage of its proximity to the Philippines, and offer new and exciting itineraries that will string together tourist sites in the city with various destinations in the Philippines, he noted.

Reyes, meanwhile, presented the tourism opportunities in the Philippines, including the following areas in meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions as a cruise ship port of call, diving, English as second language education, medical tourism, rural tourism, and as a retirement destination.

Filipino artists including opera singer Jonathan Badon gave their renditions of well-known Filipino songs such as “Anak” and “Kalesa” as well as the famous Chinese pop song “The Moon Represents My Heart,” to the audience’s delight during the lunch reception. (DFA PR)