The Philippines could be an important source of tourists for its former colonizer Spain—especially Filipinos who are planning to hold conferences or conventions abroad, Spain’s ambassador to the Philippines said.
A “newfound interest in Spain” among Filipinos is not surprising because of “historical ties,” said Ambassador Jorge Domecq at the launch of the Spain Tourism Board’s MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) program Friday night in Makati City.
The program aims to encourage companies to hold their meetings and other gatherings in Spain.
According to Domecq, Spain was one of the top MICE spots in 2012 as ranked by the International Congress and Conventions Association (ICCA). The country received 58 million international tourists in 2012 for MICE events.
Domecq said about 54,000 Filipinos visited Spain last year, with many of the visits related to pilgrimages.
According to Domecq, tourism is Spain’s main economic sector, contributing 40 percent of the country’s GDP and employing 20 percent of the total workforce. Spain’s tourism revenues in 2012 jumped 5.9 percent year-on-year to $65 billion.