Pacquiao fight in PHL may have bigger impact than Miss U

MANILA — A travel expert on Thursday said that senator-boxer Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao should consider holding his next boxing fight in the Philippines as it would provide a bigger tourism impact than the upcoming Miss Universe pageant.

“If he is really patriotic, he should fight here. This would have a bigger impact than Miss Universe,” Marciano Ragaza, Vice-Chair of the Philippine Travel Agencies Associations (PTAA) said in a press conference in Quezon City.

“Whether you like him or don’t like him, he’s an attraction,” he added noting that the boxer-senator has created “some sort of cult following.”

Ragaza made this remark after it was reported that Pacquiao is set to fight Australian boxer Jeff Horn on April either Australia or United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Ragaza said that the best place to hold the fight in the Philippines would be in the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena, the same venue for Miss Universe.

Last year, the House committee on Tourism unanimously voted in favor of the motion of Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales to turn Pacquiao as the official endorser of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

DOT Secretary Wanda Teo described this development as a “knockout” win.

She said that the tourist arrivals in the country, particularly in Mindanao, could tripe with Pacquiao as the face of tourism.

Pacquiao, who hails from General Santos in Soccsksargen, has personally expressed his desire to promote tourism being a worldwide boxing icon and politician.

Teo, however, said that all Filipinos should strive to be ambassadors and promote Philippine tourism in their own ways.