By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Seoul

Seoul, 30 November 2020- The Philippine Embassy in Seoul held yesterday the pilot implementation of "Balikbayani Tourism Reintegration Program for Overseas Filipinos in Korea," co-organized by the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through the Philippine Department of Tourism in Seoul (PDOT-Seoul) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), respectively.

The webinar is the Embassy's 15th in the series of online seminars held this year to promote reintegration preparedness among the members of the Filipino community in Korea.
In his opening remarks, Charge d'affaires, a.i. Christian L. De Jesus highlighted that South Korea is the first Philippine Foreign Service Post to hold the Balikbayani Tourism Reintegration Program. "With its addition to our existing menu of services, our overseas Filipinos in Korea can now be equipped for alternative jobs, or to become future investors in tourism," said CDA De Jesus.
Speaking on behalf of DOT Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, Director Rowena Yu-Montecillo of the DOT-Office of Industry Manpower Development cited the crucial role of overseas Filipinos in the country's tourism industry. According to her, South Korea is the Philippines' top market in terms of visitor arrival, and piloting the Balikbayani Tourism Reintegration Program here was doubly significant. "We hope to strengthen the skills of our overseas Filipinos and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) as tourism frontliners and service providers. This could provide a sustainable pathway for their productive reintegration when they come home," she said.
During the seminar, DOT resource person Mr. Ryan Sebastian discussed the Philippine tourism industry outlook, business opportunities and government support for returning OFWs. Industry expert Mr. Francisco dela Cruz of the Philippine Retailers Association presented how to be successful in micro-retail marketing, while Mr. Reden Costales of Costales Nature Farms discussed the market demand, requirements, and business returns in farm tourism. The pilot webinar had 138 registered participants and over 2,100 views on FB Live.
The participants expressed appreciation for the Embassy's new reintegration program series on tourism business. "Napakahusay ng mga speakers at lalong enlightening ang mga ibinahagi nilang impormasyon tungkol sa Filipino brand of tour guiding, micro-retail marketing at farm tourism. Nakakabitin! Pero nakapag-bigay pag-asa ito at malaking tulong para sa mga OFWs na nagbabalak ng mag-for good," wrote Hermin Garrobo.
Under the one-country-team approach, the Philippine Embassy and its attached agencies jointly conduct reintegration seminars for Filipinos in Korea with topics ranging from financial literacy, entrepreneurship and livelihood skills development, health and family relationships. For 2020, the Embassy has served 2,200 registered participants and an additional 15,000 viewers for sessions that were aired live on social media.
"By doing the seminars online, we are able to serve more kababayans here in Korea despite the pandemic. We will continue our efforts to promote the welfare of our Filipino nationals and support their early preparation for an orderly reintegration," CDA de Jesus remarked. END