MANILA — The Philippine government officially launched Thursday the Bisita Be My Guest (BBMG) program, incentivizing Filipinos who invite foreign tourists with travel discounts and a chance to win a condominium and free vacation trips.
The campaign, which will run from January 2023 to April 2024, is led by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
"We launched the Bisita Be My Guest program to correspond to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s call for our fellow Filipinos to be the best ambassadors for the Philippines all over the world. And we hope for the support of our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), our fellow Filipinos to herald their love for the Philippines by bringing home foreign guests into our country," Tourism Secretary Ma. Christina Frasco said in an media interview.
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the DOT said the 1.77 million OFWs from April to September 2020 alone shows that the "engagement of OFWs" across the world is a “great opportunity” to boost the tourism sector.
All Filipinos and the foreign visitors they invite are qualified to join the BBMG, which grants them a raffle ticket, a privilege card and a "travel passport".
Some of the major raffle prizes are a condominium, a car and vacation travel packages. The privilege card, on the other hand, may be used to avail of discounts and special travel rates.
The invitee could be a foreign passport holder (non-Filipino) of legal age or a Filipino holding dual citizenship living abroad for a minimum of six months before the campaign.
Invitees must present a proof that they traveled to the Philippines from Jan. 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024.
The official BBMG website is at http://bbmg.philippines.travel
Alongside this promotion campaign, the DOT continues to work double time to improve tourism conditions through infrastructure, access and connectivity, among others.
"I've just returned from Saudi Arabia and attended the World Travel and Tourism Council and the outlook for the Philippines in Saudi Arabia and in that side of the world is very optimistic," Frasco said.
"But admittedly, we really have to focus on accessibility, that is the availability of flights. We're also working hard at ensuring that we improve the tourism conditions in the Philippines," she added.
Also present at the launch event was DMW Secretary Susan Ople, who underscored the BBMG’s significance in empowering OFWs to help the country, particularly its tourism industry.
“All of them (OFWs) are so eager to help our country and to help our President succeed. I mean that’s the common denominator. Saan man kami pumunta, (Wherever we go) our OFWs are saying, 'What help can we give? How can we assist?' And so this program gives them a vehicle to do just that,” Ople said.
“(In) behalf of the Department of Migrant Workers, (in) behalf of the OFWs that we represent and the families that they belong to, I just want to say, let’s make this work," she added.
First Lady Louise "Liza" Araneta-Marcos, in a pre-recorded message, lauded the initiative and expressed confidence that the Filipino hospitality would make this project a success.
"We all know that the Filipinos are the most hospitable people in the world and I’m sure this will be a great factor in the success of this program," she said.
"We really need to bring in more tourists to the Philippines because we want to show how hospitable we are, how kind we are, and how good we are at letting them feel at home," she added.
Also manifesting her support is Vice President Sara Duterte, who hoped the program could contribute to the tourism sector's speedy recovery.
"May your concerted efforts in this regard promote the beauty of our country’s destinations and sustain the progress of our local communities in various regions,” she said. (PNA)