TOURISM Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo has asked world tourism leaders to a make collective stand on travel advisories to protect tourism-dependent destinations like the Philippines.

In a statement sent by the Department of Tourism (DOT), Teo stressed the need for tourism leaders to band together to compel the ministries of foreign affairs and embassies to be more realistic and considerate in the issuance of travel warnings.

Teo was in Istanbul, Turkey for the World Tourism Forum.

She noted that small island destinations have been hard hit and their economies have suffered from “unnecessary or exaggerated” notices.

“I call on the ministers here to have a collective stand on travel advisories, most especially for small island destinations. This is necessary in order to influence the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to rethink the issuance of such notices so we can safeguard the local people who are dependent on tourism,” said Teo in her speech.

Prior to her public address, Teo met with Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avci, who committed his country’s support to Teo’s call.

“If such incidences occur, we will stand together with messages of support. This would be our best response to terrorism,” said Avci.

Last November, the southern part of Cebu was named in a travel alert after the US Embassy issued its security warning over possible kidnapping by terrorist groups.

Countries like the United Kingdom and Canada followed suit and both embassies urged their citizens to avoid going to southern Cebu and to maintain a high level of vigilance.

While businesses continued in the midst of the travel alerts, tourism stakeholders in Cebu said the advisory has hurt the developing attractions in the southern part of Cebu. That area is a flourishing tourism corridor known for canyoneering, whale shark watching and scuba diving, among other water activities.