Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia said he will explore tourism opportunities in Japan when he meets with Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe today.
Leonardia and his wife, Elsa, had been invited to the ambassador’s reception for the birthday of Emperor Akihito, a national holiday in Japan. The Philippine reception will be held at the ambassador’s residence in North Forbes, Makati City.
“Although we are meeting at a social event, I would like to touch base with the ambassador on the possibility of forging partnerships to enhance the tourism traffic between Japan and our city,” Leonardia said.
Urabe and his predecessors have visited Bacolod, Leonardia said, adding that Japan has always had a special relationship with Bacolenos. “In fact, the former envoy had always pointed out that my wife, whose mother was a Jeruta, is a Japanese descendant,” he said.
Leonardia, who has been a regular guest at the annual celebration of the Emperor’s birthday since he was mayor, said events like these are opportunities to push for the city’s tourism potentials. He has also been invited to similar receptions of the United States, United Kingdom and South Korea.
Before he joined politics in 1987, Leonardia was the Negros Occidental tourism executive and had led tourism study groups to Japan and hosted Japanese groups who visited the province.
Among his committee membership now in Congress is with the Congressional Committee on Tourism.*