Food tourism is one of the sectors that could further enhance trade and cultural relations between the Philippines and Qatar, the chairman of the United Filipino Organisations in Qatar (Ufoq) said.
Ufoq chairman Ressie S Fos said Filipino restaurants and eateries were among the Philippine businesses that took centre stage during the opening ceremony of the 119th Philippine Independence Day celebration, which concludes tomorrow at City Centre Rotana.
Organised by the Philippine embassy in Doha and Ufoq, in collaboration with Kulinarya Qatar, the event not only commemorates the Philippines' independence but also aims to enhance and promote the country's business and the Filipino entrepreneurial spirit in the local market.
Food represents the many facets a country can offer to local and international tourists.
Regional provinces in the Philippines showcase their own local cuisine, which attracts many tourists to their respective areas; and the attention generated by these visitors will definitely have an impact on the tourism and business sectors.
Citing the annual Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), Fos said Qatar Tourism Authority underscores the role of food tourism in promoting unity by bringing different cultures together through global cuisine.
Kulinarya Qatar, an initiative by the Philippine embassy launched in 2015, serves as a vehicle to promote Filipino cuisine in this part of the world, and it aims to attract Qatari tourists and other expatriates to explore the Philippines either for leisure or business.
Moreover, the initiative is the platform through which the Philippine embassy can support Filipino restaurant owners and entrepreneurs in Qatar because Kulinarya Qatar, as a brand, is community-driven and supported by the Filipino community,Kulinarya Qatar said.
Since its inception, Kulinarya Qatar has organised events such as ‘Iftar ng Bayan’, which attracted 200 visitors, while the ‘Filipino Community and Family Day’ received around 6,000 visitors.
Similarly, the ‘Filipino Food Fiesta’ gathered 1,500 patrons of Filipino cuisine, while a three-day “thanksgiving” event was attended by 12,000 people.
In 2017, Kulinarya Qatar launched the ‘Be Fit with Kulinarya Qatar’ during National Sport Day, drawing more than 3,000 participants.
Fos suggested that Filipino restaurant owners and entrepreneurs in Qatar can also organise an event similar to the QIFF but one that caters to non-Filipinos in Qatar as well.
There are a number of Filipino dishes that are sought by Arabs and other expatriates in Qatar.
Some restaurants and cafes that carry the Filipino brand have a good number of international patrons, he added.