Tourism dept. to partner with Pacquiao bouts & other sporting events


By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is looking into staging future boxing bouts of world boxing champion and Sen. Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines to boost the country’s sports tourism.

In a statement, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo expressed optimism that holding Pacquiao’s boxing fights in the Philippines would be possible.

She said any of Pacquiao’s top rivals, including Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Jose Manuel Marquez would be welcome to the country if boxing promoters could make the event possible.

The DOT earlier said it was aiming to position the Philippines as a top destination for sports enthusiasts and thrill seekers. Teo said the Agency was banking on sporting events, like boxing matches, as potential attractions to increase tourists in the country.

“Sen. Pacquiao no doubt can help us score a knockout victory in terms of international visitor arrivals if he were to fight in the Philippines. Imagine how the world stops to watch it against the backdrop of, let’s say Cebu City,” Teo said.

Pacquiao earlier announced that he was coming out of retirement to fight American World Boxing Organization Welterweight Champion Jessie Vargas on November 5 in Las Vegas.

The Champ is currently holding his training camp in the Philippines so he could continue to attend to his legislative work while preparing for the fight.

No official announcement has been made regarding Pacquiao’s plans after his fight with Vargas. But his promoter, Top Rank Inc.’s Bob Arum said two more bouts may be possible for the boxing icon in 2017 if he succeeds in his comeback.

Meanwhile, the DOT is also looking at increasing its funding for the promotion of diving in the country.