President Rodrigo Duterte and Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o- cha enjoys listening to the musical performance prior to the start of the state dinner at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand on March 21, 2017. (Simon Celi Jr./Presidential Photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Philippines and Thailand signed the Implementing Program of Tourism Cooperation 2017-2022 in a bid to boost tourism partnership for the mutual benefits of both countries.

Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MOTS) Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul signed the ​cooperation agreement at the Santi Maitri Building of the Government House of Thailand.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Chan witnessed the signing of the program which is rooted in a Memorandum of Agreement on tourism cooperation signed in Manila between the ​two countries on March 24, 1993.

“Philippines’ tourism program may yet gain an added boost with this concrete commitment for tourism cooperation with Thailand as a result of President Duterte’s fruitful official visit in Bangkok this week,” Teo said.

In a press briefing Wednesday, Teo said the agreement stipulates that the two countries shall encourage their respective local travel agents to develop a joint promotional program that would market both the Philippines and Thailand destinations in one tour package.  She said they hope to double the number of Thai tourists in the country.

“When you sell Thailand you also sell Philippines and when you sell the Philippines you also sell Thailand,” she said, adding that her Thai counterpart promised to help the country’s tourism promotion.

Teo also said they are hoping there will be more direct flights from Thailand to the Philippines. She said they are working on having a flight from Davao to Bangkok.

Under the agreement, officials and staff of both participants shall visit each country to build their capacity in the areas of tourism development, administration and finance, human resource, marketing and promotions and standards and regulations.

Teo said this development would also encourage tourism, educational institutes in both countries to cooperate on exchanging technical materials, sending experts to give lectures and providing information on the opportunities for tourism-related training.

Teo added that there is so much that the Philippines can learn from Thailand’s tourism development strategies.

In 2016, visitor arrivals from Thailand grew by 8.8 percent, reaching 47,913. In addition, Thailand accounts for 10 percent of the total arrivals from ASEAN. (

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