Tourism chief says World Street Food Congress ‘was never approved’

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2019 04:16 PM | Updated as of May 16 2019 09:07 PM

World Street Food Congress at the Mall of Asia grounds in June 2017. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA – Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat made it clear that the Philippines’ hosting of the World Street Food Congress (WSFC) “was never approved” by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) because of high costs.

“There was no contract. It was not approved,” she said in an interview with The Philippine Star.

She added: “When it was discussed by the board, they felt it was too expensive for a few days even. It was never approved by the board.”

According to Romulo-Puyat, hosting the WSFC this year would cost P47.8 million, with a licensing fee of P34 million.

When asked if WSFC can resubmit a project proposal, she replied: “Maybe if we can discuss that they lower the licensing fee.”

Early this week, organizers of WSFC took to Facebook to announce that the gastronomy event – which is scheduled for October – has been canceled anew. 

“No reason nor rhyme was given, and this was after 6 months of legwork the WSFC did in curating and accommodating the TPB and DOT (Department of Tourism) ideals for the event,” read a post on WSFC’s Facebook page on Tuesday. 

“This is unbecoming of the TPB and DOT, but we doubt this is personal as we have a good working relationship with the ground team,” it added.

(‘Very disturbing’: World Street Food Congress canceled anew)

WSFC did not push through in 2018, with organizers citing “circumstances beyond our control.”

The Philippines has been hosting the gastronomy congress since 2016.