PH to strengthen tourism ties with Austria – DOT
PH to strengthen tourism ties with Austria – DOT
PH to strengthen tourism ties with Austria – DOT
by Karen Ow-Yong12 March 2024
Photo courtesy of Department of Tourism

MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is beefing up its tourism cooperation with Austria, as it aims to capture more visitors from this emerging European source market.

A delegation, led by DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, engaged in a working visit with Austrian State Secretary for Tourism Susanne Kraus-Winkler in Vienna, Austria, to explore ways to further strengthen relations between the two countries, particularly in tourism.

At the sidelines of the Internationale Tourismus Boerse (ITB) Berlin 2024, Secretary Frasco reiterated the intent of the Philippines to pursue a Memorandum of Tourism Cooperation with Austria, in the hopes that this will help mutually grow the tourism numbers of the two countries.

At the same time, Frasco hopes that through an agreement, the Philippines and Austria can exchange best practices in culture, heritage and retirement tourism; strengthen sustainable tourism frameworks and upskilling programs in hospitality, and facilitate the enhanced connectivity between the two nations.


“Following our discussions in Manila during your visit last year, we wish to reiterate the interest of the Philippines to sign a Memorandum of Tourism Cooperation to formalize our efforts to benchmark best tourism practices on sustainable tourism, enhance our people-to-people exchanges, and further enhance our frameworks on human capital development, among others,” said Secretary Frasco.

“We acknowledge the opportunity to strengthen the market; we also wish to maximize the opportunity to educate and inform Austrians about our tourism products in the Philippines which are of great interest to Europeans including our beaches, dive sites, adventure offerings, and experiential travel across our islands and among our diverse communities,” Frasco added.

Meanwhile, Secretary Kraus-Winkler likewise broached the conclusion of a “working holiday program” provided for in the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in Manila between the Austrian and Philippine Governments in October 2023.

"Tourism generally benefits from working holiday programs, as young people want to gain experience in tourism worldwide. Experience has shown that young people often also want to explore the country where they are working and go on vacation during their stay of up to one year,” Kraus-Winkler said.


“We want to further expand the good cooperation between Austria and the Philippines in the field of tourism and promote the mobility of young people. We are looking forward to the talks on the rapid implementation of a working holiday program, as we were recently able to conclude with the USA," Kraus-Winkler added.

Working holiday programs combine vacations with practical work experience abroad to enable young people to finance part of their stay abroad. Through this program, they can enter into temporary employment arrangements in the destination country and also make use of educational institutions.

The “workation” program is aimed at people aged between 18 and 30 years old who want to broaden their understanding of other countries and cultures. Foreign language skills are an important aspect of a successful start to working life abroad, Kraus-Winkler stated.

The discussions between the tourism leaders also tackled concerns on sustainability and the pivotal role of digitalization of tourism on the economies of the Philippines and Austria.


According to data provided by the DOT, the Filipino community in Austria comprises the largest Asian community in the country with approximately 30,000 Filipinos and as many as 60,000 Filipino-Austrian nationals.

Also present in the meeting were Adrian Gasser of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy and Arnulf Gressl of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.

Meanwhile, the Secretary was joined by Philippine Ambassador to Austria Evangelina Lourdes Arroyo-Bernas, Deputy Speaker Duke Frasco, DOT OIC-Undersecretary Verna C. Buensuceso, and DOT-Frankfurt Tourism Attaché Dakila Gonzales.

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