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Malaysia, Philippines mark 60 years of bilateral ties. Putrajaya, Manila look to boost tourism, trade
Published on: Saturday, April 13, 2024
By: Nikko Fabian
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Malaysia, Philippines mark 60 years of bilateral ties. Putrajaya, Manila look to boost tourism, trade
Malaysia ambassador to Philippines Dato Abdul Malik Melvin Castelino (left), Deputy Advisor for Cross-Border Barter Trade of BEBC Sabah, Razanah Paimin.
Kota Kinabalu: Malaysia and the Philippines are expected to see more interactions and programmes in areas like business, digitisation, and people-to-people ties as the two countries mark 60 years of bilateral relations in May.

Malaysia and the Philippines continue to strengthen their ties, and key area of collaboration has emerged in the form of food tourism,” Malaysia ambassador to Philippines Dato Abdul Malik Melvin Castelino said.

He said this focus is particularly relevant given the shared cultural and culinary histories between the two countries, and the burgeoning Halal market that is expected to reach a staggering $7.7 trillion in market value by 2025.

Speaking at the ‘Halal Journey Through Philippines-Malaysia Flavours’ at his residence in Makati, Malik said the initiative has already begun.

“This event showcased the rich and diverse Halal cuisine from both countries, highlighting the potential for a thriving food tourism sector,” the Ambassador told reporters in Manila.

Malik has been an advocate for increased focus on Muslim food tourism, suggesting it as an area ripe for collaboration between Malaysia and the Philippines.

He has also extended Malaysia’s assistance to Manila in tapping into the lucrative Halal market.

During the recent celebration of Hari Raya Eidrifitri Mubarak, he stressed that the Embassy of Malaysia, in partnership with the Philippine Department of Tourism, held a unique cultural and culinary event, further emphasising the deep-rooted connections and shared histories between the two nations.

The food tourism sector, with its potential for creating jobs and supporting small and medium industries, is set to play a significant role in these future collaborations, he pointed out.

Malik said the future of food tourism between Malaysia and the Philippines is indeed promising, with an increased number of flights and improved connectivity set to facilitate more cultural and culinary exchanges.

“As more Malaysians recognise the vibrant Halal tourism sector in destinations such as Zamboanga City, Davao Region, and Cagayan de Oro, the stage is set for a deliciously fruitful partnership,” the Ambassador opined.

The Deputy Advisor for Cross-Border Barter Trade of BEBC Sabah, Razanah Paimin, expressed her optimism for enhanced trade and tourism exchanges between Malaysia and the Philippines.

This follows the recent interest of Malaysia to increase flights to the Philippines, specifically to Mindanao, a move that has been highly praised and welcomed by the people of both countries.

Last week, the Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines, Dato Abdul Malik Melvin Castelino, announced Malaysia’s keen interest in establishing more flights to the Philippines, particularly to the region of Mindanao.

This initiative is a response to the increasing number of Malaysians recognising the potential of the vibrant Halal tourism sector in the Philippines.

The Ambassador highlighted the growing demand for flights to Mindanao, with destinations such as Zamboanga City and Davao Region offering a rich array of attractions. Cagayan de Oro is being viewed as an attractive gateway to Northern Mindanao, known for its diverse natural beauty and beach destinations.

Echoing these sentiments, Razanah also expressed her hopes for increased connectivity between the two nations. She stated, “It is also SCBTA’s aspiration and wish that AirAsia and PAL (Philippine Airlines) will operate more flights to the Philippines particularly areas in Mindanao in the near future.”

The Ambassador also emphasised the potential of Muslim food tourism as an area that both countries could concentrate on further.

He conveyed Malaysia’s readiness to assist Manila in tapping into the multi-billion dollar Halal market, which is forecasted to reach a market value of USD 7.7 trillion by 2025.

As Malaysia and the Philippines prepare to celebrate 60 years of bilateral relations in May, both parties anticipate more interactions and programmes between the two governments, particularly in the fields of business, digitalisation, and people-to-people ties.

This move towards increased connectivity and trade is a promising step towards a stronger alliance and mutual growth.

As such, BEBC Sabah’s welcoming of more flights to Mindanao signifies a positive outlook for the future of Malaysia-Philippines relations.

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