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By Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo (philstar.com)
December 5, 2017 - 4:09pm
Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa with Miss Philippines' Rachel Peters during a pre-pageant event in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two will participate in a promotional tour of the Philippines this week. Photos from Rachel Peters via Twitter
MANILA, Philippines — Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is expected to arrive in the country anytime now, reuniting with her namesake Peters candidate, Miss Universe 2017 top 10 finalist Rachel Peters of the Philippines.
Rachel and Demi-Leigh will be joined by other select Miss Universe candidates on a four-day tour of some Philippine destinations as part of the Department of Tourism’s Bring Home a Friend (BHAF) campaign that seeks to give incentives to Filipinos who will invite their foreign friends to explore the Philippines.
“When the Miss Universe Organization reached out to us to bring in the girls, we have specifically requested to bring in the candidates from our emerging destinations such as Russia, Netherlands, India, Italy, Spain, and Canada and contestants from our key market such as the United States, South Korea, Malaysia, China, Great Britain, and Singapore,” DOT Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo told reporters in a press briefing on Monday.
According to Teo, they picked the candidates who will visit the Philippines based on their importance in terms of marketing the Philippines.
These 14 candidates (Miss Thailand might be the 15th depending on her availability), will travel to Batanes in Luzon, Bohol in Visayas, and to Camiguin in Mindanao. Teo said DOT chose these places as the Miss Universe beauties were unable to see these the last time the pageant was held in Manila last January.
In an interview with Philstar.com, Teo clarified that not all of the Miss Universe beauties’ tours are sponsored by the government.
“Last January, when the pageant was held here, some of them were left behind and went on a tour of the Philippines. So sila, on their own ha, hindi na kami nag-tulong sa kanila, they went on their own because they really love the beaches. They love our food! Shopping is cheap. They said the food is cheap,” Teo explained.
She considered the Philippines’ hosting of the Miss Universe 2016 as successful as it contributed to the 11 percent increase in tourist arrivals from January to August 2017.
Thus, she also believes the Miss Universe 2017 beauties’ tour of the Philippines from December 5 to 8 “very helpful” in promoting the country’s tourism.
“Parang sila na ‘yung tourism ambassadors natin. These candidates have so much followers. Millennial na tayo ngayon eh. When followers click on these candidates’ Facebook and they see their pictures in the Philippines, it’s very helpful for our tourism industry,” said Teo.
On December 7, the ladies will pay a courtesy visit to President Rodrigo Duterte. On December 8, they will be divided into three groups and will be brought to different tourism sites in the country.
“Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters will be going to Batanes, some will be visiting Bohol while Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere will be in Camiguin," said Teo.
On December 9, the beauties will be attending a charity event and fashion show in Sofitel in Pasay.
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