SOUTH Korea’s new ambassador to the Philippines visited Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III last week and assured him, among others, that more investments from his country are coming to the province.
In an interview after the courtesy call, Davide said that Ambassador Han Dong-Man told him that aside from inviting more tourists, he also plans to invite business owners to invest in Cebu.
Davide said that the ambassador was impressed by the dynamics between the Korean and Cebuano communities in Cebu.
As of 2016, more than 25,000 Koreans were living in Cebu, 9,000 of whom are permanent residents. Ambassaor Han believes that the Korean community will continue to thrive in Cebu because of a growing cooperation.
Davide, for his part, said he hopes that Korean businesses will also cater to Cebuanos and not offer their goods or services exclusively to other Koreans. He said he has received reports that some Koreans have started competing with local tour guides as well.
He hopes that with Han’s support, further dialogue and cooperation can be arranged between the Korean and Cebuano communities.
Han’s appointment as ambassador to the Philippines began last Jan. 17. He previously served as South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs director-general for international economic affairs.
He also held executive positions in the Korean Embassies in the United Kingdom, United States, Algeria and Australia.
South Koreans remained the biggest group of foreign tourists in the Philippines, with 795,085 arrivals in January to June 2017 or about 24 percent of the total inbound traffic, the Department of Tourism has reported. Tourists from the United States were the second biggest group in the same period, at 513,443 or about 15 percent of the total arrivals.
South Korea also paid US$186.59 million for Philippine exports in November 2017, making it the country’s 10th largest export market. An estimated 10.4 percent of all Philippine imports in the same month came from South Korea, valued at US$907.45 million. (JKV)