The Philippines received 10,438 visitor arrivals from Qatar in 2023 and 3,784 from January 1 to April 20 this year, according to current Department of Tourism (DoT) data.

These figures were revealed following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco and HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi in the presence of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr during HH the Amir's two-day state visit to the Southeast Asian nation.

The MoU is among the nine other agreements signed between both nations to further strengthen bilateral ties.
Frasco said in a message: “Fortifying tourism co-operation between the Philippines and Qatar by way of signing this Memorandum of Co-operation forges a strong partnership for increased tourism exchanges between our nations.

“With this significant step forward, we unlock the wealth of opportunities for growth as we explore new avenues for collaboration, particularly on the aspect of tourism and business events.”

She added: “Under the Marcos administration, we are reintroducing the Philippines to the world on the strength of our Filipino culture, heritage, and identity, and we view our partnership with Qatar as being an important part of this movement.”

In its Facebook page, the DoT stated that the renewal of the MoU between the Philippines and Qatar, “aim[s] to strengthen their co-operation, particularly in the aspects of mutual development and growth of tourism and business events.”

“Under the agreement, the Philippines and Qatar agreed to jointly work towards encouraging tourist flows into each country; promoting co-operation between travel and tourism agencies and other establishments to increase tourist exchange and promotion; and creating favourable conditions for movements and communications for the visiting tourists.

“The MoU also solidifies the two countries’ intent to encourage tourism investments; undertake exchange of organisational expertise, knowledge, statistics, and best practices; promote familiarisation visits for media and tourism experts, and further skills development of operators, employees, and specialists in tourism through seminars and specialised trainings,” the DOT post also stated.

Aside from tourism and business events, the Philippines and Qatar also signed deals in the following areas: climate change, combating human trafficking, seafarers’ welfare, sports, youth, and waiver of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and special/official passports. Private sector leader Qatar Chamber also signed MoUs with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
On its website, the Philippines’ Presidential Communications Office reported that His Highness the Amir praised the Filipino community in Qatar, citing their “unwavering support” and “effective contribution” to the development and progress of Qatar.

In an earlier statement to the Philippine News Agency, Philippine ambassador to Qatar Lillibeth Pono said His Highness the Amir’s state visit is “a strong indication of flourishing relations between our two countries.”

She added: “It also provides an excellent opportunity for the two sides to have a personal exchange of views on bilateral issues and foster greater engagement arising from a shared sense of responsibility as regional and global actors.”

According to Pono, “the Philippines and Qatar have concluded over 20 agreements, including on investments, taxation, air services, labor, establishment of a political consultation mechanism, agriculture, as well as economic, commercial, and technical cooperation.”

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