International event to bring P700M in tourism receipts

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MORE than 5,000 foreigners from 67 countries are in Manila to attend an international convention, and are expected to generate about P700 million ($14 million) in tourism receipts for the Philippines, organizers said.

The expenses do not include the foreign delegates’ airfare to the Philippines, as well as their personal spending on food and shopping, said Ralph Balmaceda, a local spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witness (JW) Christian group, which is organizing the convention.

The tourism receipts include expenses by about 20,000 Filipino delegates from around the country, he told reporters at a briefing. The international convention will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena and SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on Nov. 1 to 3.

Some of the delegates come from countries whose nationals don’t normally visit the Philippines, such as Botswana and Madagascar, said Dean Jacek, communications director of the Philippine branch of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Some of the foreign attendees arrived in the Philippines as early as September and have been touring the countryside. Many of them will stay behind after the convention to visit more places outside the capital, Mr. Balmaceda said.

About 30,000 members of the group, which includes more than 4,000 volunteers who are helping organize the event, will attend the convention in Pasay City, Mr. Balmaceda said. The convention is open to the public, he added.

The group is closely coordinating with local governments, the police, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Tourism department, said another JW spokesman, Allan de Guzman. There are more than 200,000 JWs in the Philippines and about 8.58 million worldwide. — NPA