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RP dubbed ‘adventure buffet for picky tourist’ in UK report

[ Manila Bulletin Online ] September 15, 2008

The Department of Tourism (DoT) has been flooded with requests and inquiries from tourists from the United Kingdom after getting favorable reviews from London as the "adventure buffet for the picky tourist."

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said the Philippines was featured in the Daily Mail, Britain’s second highest-selling magazine, with more than 2 million circulation and almost 6 million readership, by freelance travel writer and famous author Michael Arditti.

In a two-page article, Arditti cited the Philippines as "an an adventure buffet for the picky tourist."

Arditti opened his two-page, full-color feature entitled, "Manila Really is a Thriller," with his astonishment at the country’s popular image of exploited maids and shanties when it has a wealth of history, culture and scenery. After two weeks of stay, Arditti was "wowed" by the Philippines, from its "pulsating capital to the exotic islands."

"After the article’s publication, Department of Tourism London was flooded with calls," said Ace Durano, Secretary of Tourism. Durano further remarked that the country’s image problem can easily be reconditioned by a single person’s experience of the country’s destinations.

Durano also called on bloggers and writers to keep highlighting the best of the country, its undiscovered destinations and hideaways, through photos and words.

Eduardo Jarque, Jr., DOT Undersecretary for Planning and Promotions, added, "Seeing is believing. That’s why we encourage hotels, resorts and airlines to link up with us in our familiarization tours campaign to bring in more potential ‘ambassadors’ who will promote our country."

DOT-London, Tourism Attaché Domingo Ramon Enerio mentioned that Traders Shangri-la, Boracay Tropics, Plantation Bay, Nurture Spa, and TRIPS which were part of Arditti’s trip have also been receiving numerous inquiries after the article’s publication.

In the article published on September 6, Arditti started his trip in Manila, noting the evident Spanish influence on century-old churches and the walled city of Intramuros. He was also surprised by the dynamism of Makati’s financial hub with its cosmopolitan restaurants and designer shops. Then he headed further South in Tagaytay where he trekked Taal Lake and ended the day with a relaxing massage. He also went to Quezon for the colorful festivals, which he regarded were a mix of pagan and Christian rituals.

The London-based writer’s two-week sojourn also included a stay in Cebu – a city which he observed to be fiercely independent and proud of its remarkable historic architecture. His final stop was Boracay where he raved about the island paradise’s golden sands and warm people.

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