Chicago, 19 January 2023 – The Philippine Consulate General conducted the formal launch in the US Midwest of the 2023 Very Important Pinoy (VIP) Tour at the Consulate’s Kalayaan Hall on 17 January 2023, following the Philippines’ participation in the 2023 Travel and Adventure Show Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois on 14-15 January 2023.
In her welcome remarks, Consul General J. Susana V. Paez invited Filipino and American travelers in the US Midwest, particularly the young people, to join the 2023 VIP Tour which will take visitors to Manila, Iloilo, and Boracay Island on 16-24 July 2023. She added that the resumption of the VIP Tour after three (3) years of absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic signals the resumption of more frequent and enjoyable travels to the Philippines as the country fully reopens its economy as well as its national borders to international travel.
In a video message, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez encouraged everyone to take advantage of the VIP Tour to experience first-hand the country’s natural beauty as well as the world-renowned Filipino hospitality, explaining that the Philippines is one of the most biodiverse countries with a fast-growing economy.
Philippine Department of Tourism – New York (PDOT-NY) Tourism Director Francisco Lardizabal presented the itinerary involving cultural heritage, culinary tours, ecotourism adventures, and additional recreational options such as golf and water sports. Details about the VIP Tour are posted on the VIP Tour website http://viptourphilippines2023.comor on its Facebook page @VeryImportantPinoyTour2023.
Director Lardizabal also discussed about the DOT’s Bisita, Be My Guest (BBMG) program, a promotional campaign which seeks to provide incentives to Overseas Filipinos (OFs) to invite their foreign friends to visit the Philippines with raffle tickets and chances to win vacation tour packages to select local destinations. Through this program, the DOT aims to offer them (OFs) a platform where they can reconnect with their families and help the country earn economic gains through increased tourist arrivals.
Formerly known as the “Ambassador, Consuls General, and Tourism Directors Tour” and then as “The Ambassador’s Tour”, the VIP Tour serves as the flagship tourism program of the Philippine Foreign Services Posts in the United States led by the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC, in partnership with the Philippine Department of Tourism and its relevant agencies, the local government units of the featured destinations, the tour handler – Rajah Tours, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
This program was first launched in 2005 under the leadership of former Philippine Ambassador to the United States and later on Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario, and this has enabled Filipino-Americans from all over the United States to revisit their homeland and become tourism ambassadors for the country.
This year is the Tour’s 14th edition following a three-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the last VIP Tour held in July 2019, the participants visited Manila, Bataan, Clark, and El Nido, Palawan. END