Winter Escapade 2018 brings joy to Canadian balikbayans

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  • Winter Escapade is the annual tourism promotion program of Team Philippines-Canada, which offers an extraordinary visitor experience of Philippine destinations and exceptional hospitality.

    This year, the Department of Tourism (DOT)’s annual Winter Escapade – one of the agency’s most successful promotional programs in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs – has again brought hundreds of tourists, mostly balikbayans from the U.S. and Canada, to the Philippines.

    Philippine Ambassador to Canada Petronila Garcia said this year a total of 250 tourists, including Canadians and those from the U.S., have joined the 10-day tour with stops in the cities of Bacolod and Davao.

    Now on its fifth year, Winter Escapade has brought in over a thousand tourists, resulting in increased tourism revenues and investments, Garcia said in a report by the Philippine Star.

    Winter Escapade runs from February 3 to February 11.

    A total of 35 participants came from Vancouver, including ReyFort Media Group founder Rey Fortaleza.

    According to a breakdown provided by Fortaleza from the Philippines, Toronto has 48 participants in the tour; Ottawa, 18; Quebec, seven; Calgary, two; Halifax, two; and the U.S., 16.

    According to the Philippine Star report, DOT data show that the average expenditure of the Canadian tourists during their 10-day stay in the Philippines is Canadian $4,000 to $5,000 or a total of Canadian $1.046 million (P42.8 million).

    “In terms of presenting a good image of the country, this (Winter Escapade) is very important,” Garcia told The STAR during the welcome lunch for participants held at the Ayuntamiento de Manila in Intramuros.

    “Sometimes we get bad reputation,” she said, referring to travel advisories issued by some countries against the Philippines due to peace and order.

    “If it’s a group (tour) organized by us, people are not afraid and word of mouth spreads that the Philippines is a good place to go,” she said.

    Garcia noted that the person who brought Canada’s Tim Hortons in the Philippines was a participant of the Winter Escapade last year.

    The envoy said aside from “good value,” Winter Escapade brings tourists to different places every year.

    Garcia said more Filipino-Canadians would like to join the annual tour to escape the cold February winter of Canada but they have to limit the number of participants due to lack of hotel rooms in some areas in the country.

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    Winter Escapade 2018 brings joy to Canadian balikbayans

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