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PHL, Vietnam agree to support each otherís bid to 7 new world wonders PDF Print E-mail

CEBU CITY, Sept. 16 (PNA) - The Philippines and Vietnam have agreed to support each otherís entry to the search for the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

The decision was reached during the 11th East Asia Inter-Regional Tourism Forum (EATOF) standing committee meeting.

The commitment to support the Philippinesí Subterranean River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan and Vietnamís Ha Long Bay was part of the joint declaration signed Thursday by the governors attending the EATOF, which ends at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) here on Saturday.

Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, who presided over the standing committee meeting, said it does not matter how the two tourism destinations will be ranked, provided they will gain enough support to be included in the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

EATOF seeks to promote tourism in 12 Asian provinces including Cebu and Quang Ninh Province in Vietnam, where Ha Long Bay is located.

Vu Thi Thu Thuy, vice chair of the Provincial Peopleís Committee in Vietnam, said there is no contest between Ha Long and the Subterranean River as Eatof will support both destinations.

ĒItís a win-win game for the strength of EATOF,Ē Thuy said.

Magpale thanked the committee, considering that Palawan is not a member of the EATOF.

Aside from supporting the two destinations, the EATOF join declaration committed to: jointly reduce potential crisis - natural, political and economic ó among members by sharing information; establish fair tourism environment; eliminate international travel inconveniences by fast-tracking visa checks; maintain multi-lateral exchange with USD 5,000 subsidy to the host-province; and granting financial support in dispatching officials for the EATOF secretariat.

The EATOF also committed to support programs that promote ecology and entrepreneurship in the region.

Magpale said tourism development in Asia faces several challenges posed by natural calamities and political instability, and Eatof seeks to address these issues through cooperation among member-provinces.

She offered member-provinces a free booth during the annual Cebu Expo, an activity initiated by the provincial government, as a way to promote EATOF membersí tourism destinations.

In its meeting, EATOF also decided to encourage governors of member-provinces to be present in activities, especially those from Chiang Mai, Thailand and Primorsky, Russia, who have been absent in many events.

EATOF operations are funded by membership dues. Dues depend on the gross domestic product, the value of goods and services produced in an area, of the member-province.

Cebu pays USD 6,000 a year, one of five provinces with the lowest contribution.

The 13th EATOF general assembly will be held in November next year in Sam Reap Province, Cambodia. (PNA)
































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