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PIA Press Release

Public-private partnership needed to achieve RP tourism agenda

Cebu City (16 October) -- Maximizing the potentials of tourism as a growth driver of investments, employment, growth and national development as envisioned by the New Tourism Act or RA 9593 requires the active involvement of other major government agencies and the private sector to closely work hand in hand with the Department of Tourism (DOT) to achieve the vision of the National Tourism Development Plan.

Tourism Usec. Phineas Alburo said the National Tourism Development Agenda will be the country's blueprint to make the tourism industry be more globally competitive spurring not only tourist arrivals but boosting the local tourism sector and luring more domestic and foreign investors to pour money on tourism-related investments.

A globally competitive tourism industry will attract more tourists where they will spend money which is good for our economy while a rise in tourism-related investments due to a favorable tourism business climate will provide thousands of employment to Filipinos, according to Alburo.

Despite the global financial crisis, tourist arrivals in the country rose by 1.5 percent or about 3.14M last year, according to records from the DOT. Korea, US and Japan are the three top source markets while a bigger chunk of the tourist arrivals is also attributed from Europe and Scandinavian markets.

Cebu on the other hand, posted a growth of 8.51 percent in tourist arrivals last year or close to 650,000 out of the 3.13M foreign tourists that visited the country in 2008 went to Cebu.

For the first semester this year, Cebu likewise emerged as the top choice of destination in the country among foreign tourists. Based on the DOT record, out of the 830,599 foreign tourists that visited the country from January to June, this year, 321,116 of the total figure visited Cebu.

Alburo said that in order to lure more tourists and invite investors to the country, our national tourism industry should be more globally competitive and that the necessary infrastructure should be put in place such as access roads, airports, seaports and other infrastructure requirements in identified tourism areas.

"This is where the Dept. of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Dept. of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) come in for the establishment of the tourism infrastructure program," according to Alburo.

The tourism infrastructure program (TIP) will be in accordance with the national tourism development plan and local government initiatives where both will coordinate with DPWH and DOTC in the establishment of the TIP in their respective work programs. Both agencies and the Dept. of Budget and Management will then accord priority status in the funding of the TIP, this is learned.

Alburo said the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should also apply strict enforcement of protection and preservation laws to sustain the beauty of our natural resources. One of the selling points of the country is the natural beauty of our beaches, marine resources, cultural and heritage sites among others, this is said.

To encourage tourism businesses to locate and remain in their areas, the Dept. of Local and Interior Government (DILG) and the local government units must continue to practice good governance and procedures.

Peace and order is also a critical element to induce tourists to come here as the Philippine National Police (PNP) is mandated to establish a Tourism Security Force (TSF) under the Tourism Act. The TSF will assist in maintaining peace and order in areas of high tourism traffic and a tourist police assistance desk shall also be put up in said areas.

The Tourism Coordinating Council that will be created as mandated under the law will serve as a coordinating body for national tourism development efforts with members that include from other government agencies such as the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, Dept. of Labor and Employment, Dept. of Education among others.

With the new law, the DOT exercises the powers and discharges the functions in the development of tourism. Previously, under Presidential Decree 189, the DOT has no authority or control over other government agencies whose mandates directly affect the tourism industry, Alburo stated.

Alburo who is tasked to take charge of the implementing rules and regulations of the law said the tourism agenda will also have the active involvement of the private sector as well so it will be a government-private sector partnership in the development of the country's tourism agenda.

Tourism is said to account for 6.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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