Filipinos are known for their warmth and their great sense of hospitality. And this is what the Duterte government wants to capitalize on.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced the revival of a 20-year old program “Bring Home A Friend” (BHAF) which used to run successfully back to 1994 under former DOT Secretary Mina Gabor. The program is timed with the onset of the traditionally long Christmas season.
“We would like to close the year strongly for the tourism industry in terms of visitor arrivals and carry the momentum into the coming year,” said current DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo.
Teo decided to revive the BHAF program implemented in 1994 by DOT to encourage Filipinos to invite their foreign friends to come and visit the Philippines.
The Filipino sponsors, who either reside in the country or overseas, stand to win an array of prizes, adding excitement to the program that runs for six months from October 15, 2017 up to April 15, 2018.
“This shall be a thrilling experience for us Filipinos, who are known for our genuine hospitality and for celebrating Christmas for the longest time,” said Teo.
Major prizes awaiting the sponsors include a condominium from Megaworld Corporation, a brand new Toyota Vios, and a PHP200,000 (US$3,900) gift certificate at Duty-Free Philippines while their foreign guests can win round-trip international flight tickets and tour packages to Palawan, Cebu and Davao.
To join, the sponsor must duly register via the Bring Home a Friend webpage accessible via DOT’s website tourism.gov.ph. Registration may also be accomplished at BHAF booths soon to be set up at selected international airports in the Philippines.
The number of eligible entries will also depend on the points they earn corresponding to the guest’s country of origin: Asia and Oceania/Australia: 2; Africa, Middle East, Europe, and America: 3.
Conversely, the more foreign friends the sponsors invite, the more entries they can submit.
Based on the 2015 report of the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are 9.1 million overseas Filipinos. More than three million reside in the United States of America while more than two million are based in the Middle East.
Other countries with large numbers of Filipinos are Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Italy, and Australia.
Employees of DOT and its attached agencies as well as their relatives are not allowed to join the scheme.