Press Release
June 4, 2014

By Senator Grace Poe
June 4, 2014
Senate of the Philippines

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues,

I stand here today to sponsor a bill which aims to boost our tourism industry by non-traditional ways of country promotion. I refer to Senate Bill No. 2272, otherwise known as the "Philippine Film and Television Tourism Act of 2014."

Over the decades, tourism has become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world and a key driver for socio-economic progress. It creates new areas of business that generates employment opportunities for Filipinos, thus, making it one of the main income sources for many developing countries like the Philippines. More than selling the Philippines as a prime tourist destination through films, the main objective of this bill is to generate more employment opportunities and jobs for our kababayans: not only as part of the technical production like actors and crew members but in the entire business services involving film production and tourism.

Film tourism describes the effects of the film and TV productions on destination marketing: Tourists become inspired to experience the scene locations captured on films. From there, marketing opportunities are generated when the film is premiered, and, at the same time, other business opportunities also open through film tourism. In this age of globalization, pop culture, films and TV productions are essential tools in shaping people's perceptions of what a country has to offer and at the same time an effective way to gain exposure for the country. Films provide tourists knowledge about certain aspects of a country in terms of destinations, culture and people. In other words, films serve as a virtual brochure of a country.

Film induced tourism has been done successfully in other countries. For example, New Zealand is home to the locations from film adaptations of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Tourism New Zealand took the opportunity to be involved in the production and made sure that everyone knew that the film was being shot in New Zealand. In addition to this, New Zealand even offered tax reduction incentives just to make sure that The Hobbit will be shot in their country. Following the successful film tourism campaign, a record 2.718 million tourists visited New Zealand in 2013, up by 6 percent compared with 2.565 million in 2012.[1]

Film tourism is not only limited to making the Philippines as a shooting location or filming area for various media activities. Let us also take the example of the Korean wave.

Mr. President, Koreanovelas have been so popular throughout Asia in recent years and they also play a significant role in boosting South Korea's tourism industry. Korean pop culture is positively affecting Korea's tourism industry, which has resulted to a significant rise in Asian tourist arrivals as film locations featured in Korean dramas have emerged as popular tourists' destinations. In 2012, tourist arrivals in Korea have reached more than 11 million.

The Philippines is not a neophyte in this growing global phenomenon. The country had been a host to several films--from the BAFTA-nominated film "Metro Manila" in 2013, the fourth installment of "The Bourne Legacy" in 2012, "Amigo" in 2010, "I Come With The Rain" in 2009 starring Josh Hartnett, to the Oscar-winning movies "Platoon" (1986) starring Charlie Sheen and Johnny Depp and "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989) featuring Tom Cruise.

Mr. President, film tourism had been successful in boosting the tourism industry of other countries. If they can do it, I am very certain that we can also do it if done properly. Our country is blessed with pristine white beaches and breathtaking landscapes and we have locations similar or even better than locations featured in A-list movies.

Mr. President, It would be such a waste if we don't take advantage of what we have and use it as a tool for national development. It would've been "More Fun in the Philippines" if we focus more on projecting a good image of the Philippines.

The creation of the Philippine Film and Television Tourism Authority or PFTTA under this bill facilitates a One-Stop-Shop System for foreign film or television program entities. Its functions are mainly to facilitate the promotion and marketing of the Philippines as a location site such as, but not limited to, creating and maintaining a website or manual of Philippine film and television tourism sites, providing easy access to information on how foreign productions can shoot in the Philippines, assisting them in the implementation of reward and incentive package for foreign production interested in shooting in the Philippines, and assisting foreign production in processing documents and permits.

Walt Disney once said that, "times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep or aim constantly focused on the future." This is fitting for Philippine tourism and film and TV industries today.

And this is the reason that I would like to ask the assistance of this chamber to enact the Film and Television Tourism Act of 2014 soonest.

Thank you, Mr. President.



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