Different government agencies have joined together to advance the Filipino culinary tradition and the Philippines' unique food tourism experiences as they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The memorandum will create a framework of cooperation and collaboration and officially infuse the food tourism dimension to celebrate Filipino Food Month every April.
"As we look forward to every annual celebration of Filipino Food Month, we would like to use this as a platform to promote travel for a taste of a place in order to get a sense of a place," Tourism Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during the virtual signing ceremony.
Through the MOU, the appreciation, preservation, and promotion of Filipino culinary traditions will intensify to ensure transmission to future generations, and it'll support food tourism stakeholders such as farmers and agri-communities.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) inked the MOU, with the Department of Agriculture (DA), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM).
The DA-NCCA-DOT-PCHM Technical Working Group (TWG) will also conduct quarterly meetings to ensure the smooth implementation of the activities and responsibilities enclosed in the MOU.
There are also specific responsibilities assigned to the DOT, such as including food and gastronomy tourism-related activities for Filipino Food Month and endorsing the promotion of the Filipino Food Month.
Puyat pledged the DOT's full support and cooperation in the initiative, emphasizing the immense potential of Filipino food in tourism before the pandemic.
"Our own internal studies in the DOT have revealed that prior to the pandemic in 2019, inbound tourists spent 22.4% of their total expenditures on food and beverage items. For domestic tourists, 8% was devoted to F&B expenses and a big chunk of shopping expenses were also spent on foodie treats," she said.
Puyat also mentioned the ongoing efforts of the Department in utilizing the potential of food tourism.
"As we shine the spotlight on our diverse culinary heritage and our agricultural producers, let us also experience the fun of food tripping in the Philippines," she said.