Filipino-American (Fil-Am) millennials who wish to visit the Philippines may soon avail of special rates in airfares, accommodations, ground handling and tours, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

DOT Secretary Wanda Teo made this announcement during a recent briefing in the Philippine-DOT office in San Francisco, USA urging Fil-Am millennials to trace their roots.

“Go back to your roots, learn the traits of the Filipinos. Change has come to our country, to our people, and you will be proud of yourselves to be Filipinos,” Teo was quoted saying.

Teo assured that the agency will be “pulling out all the stops with balikbayan travel packages.”

“Special rates in airfares, accommodations, ground handling, and tours will be applied for these Fil-Am millennials,” she added. However, she did not mention when will the program start.

Moreover, she said the DOT will continue to tap new and emerging markets such as the Filipinos abroad who are probably now in their 30s and 40s and now part of the working-class to travel and rediscover their Filipino roots.

“We will offer them little known tourist destinations and sites, which are now among our priority growth areas for tourism development,” Teo said.

She said the DOT will “twin” them with other preferred Asian destinations like Philippines-Singapore, Philippines-Bangkok, Philippines-Hong Kong, and Philippines-Kuala Lumpur, among others.

The Secretary cited great improvement in the Philippines’ connectivity that has seen 423,540 new international air seats and 117 ports of calls from international cruise vessels in the first five months of 2017.

She, meanwhile assured Filipino expats and foreign visitors that there is now a more level playing field for growth and development despite the country’s fair share of challenges.

“I am pleased to note that the Philippine tourism industry has continued to deliver in terms of numbers, investments, and global exposure. That despite obstacles and roadblocks along the way,” Teo said.

She also gave an update on arrivals for the January to May 2017 period which has reached 2.88 million foreign arrivals or a 14.43 percent from the same period in 2016 with only 2.52 million.

This increase was driven by stronger marketing efforts abroad and from hosting high-profile, big-ticket international events in the Philippines in the last five months including the Miss Universe in January, gastronomy events Madrid Fusion Manila and World Street Food Congress, and the China-ASEAN Year of Tourism, and the UNWTO International Conference on Tourism Statistics.

“Hosting these events not only indicate a bright outlook for Philippine tourism but has also kept the country’s profile high among citizens of the world,” she said.

Teo will be meeting with several members of the mainstream Fil-Am media, potential investors, and the Filipino community. From San Francisco, she will be traveling to Los Angeles for the last leg of her two-city business mission. (ANP/PNA)