New Zealand eyeing Cebu’s education, tourism sectors

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva July 17,2016 - 10:54 PM

THE New Zealand government has decided to pay closer attention to Cebu on its 50th year of bilateral relations with the Philippines, particularly eyeing the local market for the education and tourism sectors.

New Zealand Ambassador David Strachan said last week that the anniversary of bilateral relations was a significant milestone and reflected the growing relationship between the two countries.

“We are mindful of the dynamic growth of the BPO sector in Cebu. The New Zealand services sector is excited about the growth of the Cebu market for New Zealand education and tourism sectors,” he said.

Last week, the New Zealand Embassy in Manila hosted a reception dinner for some members of the Cebu community at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Earlier, Strachan met with Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña to express New Zealand’s interest in the province.

The ambassador said they were considering putting up commissaries in Cebu, although this would not be anytime soon.

He said the commissaries would strengthen their networking especially in the recruitment of potential Cebuano students that might be sent to New Zealand to study under a scholarship program.

Every year, the Kiwi government gives scholarship grants to 24 Filipino students interested in taking courses on renewable energy, disaster risk management and agri-business.

Strachan said he would want more Cebuanos and students from the Visayas to avail of the program.

Education New Zealand Regional Communications Manager Ben Burrowes said more than 3,600 Filipinos studied in New Zealand in 2015 — 83 percent more than in the previous year.

Ambassador Strachan also said he would be expecting more Filipinos to travel to New Zealand with the opening of more direct flight services to the country.

In 2015, he said 20,000 Kiwis arrived in the Philippines while the same number of Filipinos also traveled to New Zealand.
Strachan said that New Zealand’s main carrier, New Zealand Air, would be expected to open direct flights from Manila to Auckland “in the not so distant future.”

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