Philippines thumbs down hosting of World Street Food Congress
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s hosting of the World Street Food Congress (WSFC) was never approved by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) due to the high cost of staging the event, the chief of the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.
“There was no contract. It was not approved,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat told The STAR.
“When it was discussed in the board, they felt it was too expensive for a few days even. It was never approved by the board.”
She said the cost for hosting the WSFC would amount to P47.8 million, with a licensing fee of P34 million.
On Tuesday, Makansutra (S) Pte Ltd., the organizers of the WSFC, took to social media its disappointment on the disapproval of the project, noting that the DOT and TPB did not explain their reasons for cancelling the project.
“No reason nor rhyme was given and this was after six months of legwork the WSFC did in curating and accommodating the TPB and DOT ideals for the event,”the WSFC said on its Facebook page.
Earlier this year, the WSFC said it would hold the Philippine edition of the congress in Bonifacio Global City this October.
It added that it has already invited chefs, cooks, street food professionals and vendors from 14 countries for the event.
“This in unbecoming of the TPB and DOT, but we doubt this is personal as we have a good working relationship with the ground team,” the WSFC said.
WSFC apologized to local and international food fans, sponsors, partners and entrepreneurs who have already placed their interest in this year’s event.
“But fret not, we still believe this event is good for the Philippines and we will press on to deliver it, albeit, we have to go back to drawing table.
“Which was also why we even suggested to the Street Food Show team on Netflix that the Philippines be featured,” it added.
Asked if organizers of WSFC can resubmit the project proposal in the coming years, Puyat said it is possible if licensing fees are lowered.
“Maybe if we can discuss that they lower the licensing fee, but if its a P47.8 million project and licensing fee is P34 millon, it’s too expensive,” Puyat said.
The Philippines hosted the WSFC in 2016 and 2017 and it was also slated to host last year’s edition of the congress, but organizers said the TPB decided to cancel the project due to circumstances beyond its control.
Apart from canceling the WSFC, the DOT also announced last year that it would put on hold the country’s hosting of food festival Madrid Fusion Manila (MFM) as it focuses its resources on its sustainable tourism efforts.