Learning more about Bangladesh and the Philippines' burgeoning tourism industry
DailyStar || Shining BD
The increasing number of Bangladeshis who are interested in visiting the Philippines is not only a trend but also a major indicator of the variety of tourism experiences this archipelago has to offer. In an open discussion with His Excellency Leo Tito L Ausan, Jr., the Philippine ambassador to Bangladesh, we explore the fascinating aspects of the Filipino archipelago and the complexities and opportunities of bilateral tourism.
"Both Bangladesh and the Philippines are tropical nations. What distinct experiences that are unavailable to them back home can Bangladeshis find in the Philippines?"
While both the Philippines and Bangladesh are tropical countries and are surrounded by bodies of water, apart from the climate, the similarities end there, except maybe for traffic in our respective capitals.
Bangladeshi tourists can enjoy a range of outdoor and water-based/beach activities, including diving and snorkelling, hiking, and camping, among others; some are just a few hours' drive from the country's capital. Our islands, particularly Palawan, and beaches such as Boracay and El Nido, are always among the top-ranked in the world.
There are also certain surfing spots that are becoming alternative destinations to Bali's more popular surfing beaches.
For non-outdoorsy tourists, the Philippines, particularly its capital, Manila, is home to museums, each one offering a unique experience as they showcase the country's rich history and culture; a romantic sunset cruise by Manila Bay; interactive and other indoor activities; and a shopping haven, to name a few.
In the Philippines, there is basically something for everyone: its rich history showcased in museums, its architecture, culture, and arts in its heritage, and the outdoors (island hopping, beach and surfing destinations, hiking, and spelunking) make for a one-of-a-kind experience that will truly be memorable for tourists.
"Can you recommend a dish that you think would resonate particularly well with the Bangladeshi palate?"
I think our classic adobo and kare-kare, which differ in how they are prepared depending on where you are in the Philippines, are delicious and will resonate with the Bangladeshi palate.
"If you could describe the ideal 'experience' for a Bangladeshi tourist in three words, what would they be?"
Fun. Food. Friendship.
"What, in your opinion, would be a 'hidden gem' of an experience in the Philippines that Bangladeshis might not typically consider but should?"
I don't think we can say that there is just one hidden gem; there are several, and I believe there are more that have yet to be discovered.
While we are known for our beaches, which we, of course, take pride in, hiking at sunrise in Mt Pulag in the north of Luzon, swimming in the clear, turquoise water of Kawasan Falls in the province of Cebu in the Visayas, or camping in Kaputian Beach in Davao in Mindanao are just some of the "hidden gems" that are lesser-known activities that can be done in the Philippines.
Bangladeshi tourists who prefer the "road less travelled," so to speak, can consider these lesser-known gems for a truly unique Philippine experience.
"What collaborations or projects between Bangladesh and the Philippines are currently in the pipeline to boost bilateral tourism?"
Discussions among concerned stakeholders in both the Philippines and Bangladesh are currently ongoing to operationalise the existing Air Services Agreement. Once operational, this can facilitate direct flights between Manila and Dhaka, boosting tourism and bilateral trade and investments between our two countries.
For those eager to book their next holiday, Pinoy Travels, led by CEO Anisuzzaman, stands as the only authorised agency assigned by the Philippine Embassy. They are working closely with Philippine Tourism to make your dream vacation come true.