The Philippines may be the next location for the next Hollywood big hit after the best-selling author and executive producer of “Crazy Rich Asians” Kevin Kwan, disclosed at the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit that he wants to make his next movie in the country.
“It’s a country with so many amazing locations, cultures, flavors, and of course, people. This is my fourth trip [here] and it’s always a pleasure to be back,” the Singaporean-born American writer enthused of the Philippines.
“It’s always surprising—I never know what will happen, but it’s always a grand adventure,” Kwan added.
Award-winning film producer Lawrence Bender, who joined Kwan on the panel, shared further details on the latter’s creative project.
Both Kwan and Bender were panel speakers for the WTTC Summit session on the impact of novels and film in boosting tourism.
“One of the reasons why we are here is we want to make a movie here. [Kevin] wrote a script, and it’s like a love letter to the Philippines,” Bender said.
“In case of (bringing the spotlight to) the Philippines, absolutely… For me, it’s about showcasing cultures… telling stories that are authentic to the place, to really celebrate that place,” Kwan said.
Bender also emphasized that when film crews come to certain destinations to create their movies, the local economy also benefits.
“You know, we did that with Crazy Rich Asians quite effectively. It boosted tourism in Singapore,” Kwan said.
“What we do is we come into an area to shoot. We hire local people, we bring in people, we rent hotels. People who are employed, they pay taxes. It’s a net positive for the economy,” he noted.
Meanwhile, DOT Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat thanked the Hollywood executives for sharing their first-hand experience and is looking forward to the prospects that film tourism may bring to the country.
“Film and literary works hold great potential to reach more people and show them how rich the Philippines is in terms of breathtaking destinations and diverse cultures. We hope these will in turn encourage more travelers around the world to visit and experience our country,” Puyat said.
“Given our expansive tourism portfolio, we look forward to having more film and TV projects shot here in the Philippines. Rest assured we have the guidelines in place to ensure their health and safety while filming in our destinations,” added the tourism chief.
With travel as a foremost source of creative inspiration for the two, Kwan looks forward to exploring the Philippines further and showing his favorite destinations to Bender, “hoping [that] he falls in love,” the author quipped.