More than 5,500 foreigners in Manila for international convention


Posted at Oct 31 2019 01:42 AM

Spokespersons and resource persons for the 2019 International Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses discuss preparations and the economic impact of the event on local tourism and economy in a press briefing. From left are Mr. Dean Jacek, Mr. Ralph Balmaceda, Mr. Allan De Guzman, and Mr. Normito Zapata Jr.

MANILA—Cities in Metro Manila are serving as hosts to more than 5,500 foreigners who are delegates to an international convention to be held in Pasay City this week, boosting local tourism and the economy. 

With more than 5,000 foreigners arriving in the country, it now becomes one of the events that will have the most number of foreign delegates coming to the Philippines for a single convention.

The foreign delegates, who are from 67 countries, will be attending the International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses at the Mall of Asia and SMX Convention Center on Nov. 1 to 3. 

At least P700 million is expected to be generated for the local economy for the basic logistics required alone such as hotel bookings and land transfers of foreigners, Ralph Balmaceda said in a press briefing. 

The said economic impact does not include personal tours and expenses, as well as other arrangements beyond the international convention. 

Balmaceda said the foreign delegates have booked 55,900 room nights for their accommodation with attendees staying for nine nights up to 20 nights in at least 47 hotels in the cities of Pasay and Manila. 

"Local Jehovah's Witnesses get an opportunity to meet and enjoy association with their fellow Witnesses from around the world, and the community here in Metro Manila is happy to accommodate the influx of international visitors at the local cafes, restaurants, hotels, and popular tourist destinations," said Dean Jacek, Philippine spokesman for Jehovah's Witnesses. 

Allan De Guzman also said that the people who have interactions with the foreigner attendees in the last few days have been showing the warm hospitality that Filipinos are known around the world. 

About 30,000 members of the group will attend the convention in Pasay City. More than 4,000 volunteers are helping organize the event. The group also said that they are closely coordinating with local government units, the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Department of Tourism (DoT) among others.