TOURISM Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco assured the readiness of Manila to welcome tourists in the country and laid down the holistic and comprehensive plan and strategies of the Department of Tourism (DOT) to revitalize Philippine tourism, a sector that has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) in New York in the United States, Frasco joined the economic team of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. where she talked about the initiatives being undertaken by the government to provide a better experience to travelers who would be coming to the Philippines.
She noted the Philippine tourism industry plays a critical role in spurring economic opportunities across the country.
“The President has clearly identified tourism as a major tool for the economic resurgence of the Philippines, stating that it can be the economic driver upon which we herald the Filipino Brand and at the same time create economic opportunity and livelihood all over the country,” Frasco said in her opening statement.
Frasco, during the panel discussion on Philippines’ Infrastructure Agenda and Investment Opportunities, enumerated the Department’s 7-point agenda and the three strategies of connectivity, convenience and E(q)uality as part of the DOT’s strategy for tourism development.
The Tourism Chief bared the agency’s plans to provide travelers a memorable experience through various programs and initiatives such as the slated ground-breaking of 10 tourist service areas in the country allocating three in Luzon, five in Visayas, and two in Mindanao.
“We plan to address the most basic aspect of travel across the Philippines: clean restrooms. I’m very pleased to inform you that in the first week of October, under the directive of the President, we are breaking ground on no less than 10 tourist rest areas across the Philippines. Three in Luzon, five in Visayas, and two in Mindanao. These tourist rest areas will have clean and decent restrooms for our tourists, a lounge for them to rest in, a complete information on tourist destinations, as well as pasalubong centers for them to be able to purchase local products and delicacies,” the Secretary said.
Frasco likewise announced the prioritization of tourists’ safety and security through a partnership with the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG); establishment of wifi in tourism destinations through a partnership with the Department of Communications, Information and Technology (DICT); an improved digital platform that will provide information to tourists, and even the establishment of a tourist assistance call center.
The Forum was made specially interesting with the President of the Philippines giving the keynote address, where he gave special mention to the tourism industry as one of the prime movers of the Philippine economy.
“We will also reinvigorate the tourism sector by investing in travel infrastructure and the promotion of the Filipino brand. With the Department of Tourism leading our efforts to revitalize both domestic and foreign tourism, we will ensure the safe reopening of tourist destinations and develop the Philippines’ yet to be discovered attractions,” remarked the President during his speech.
The PEB forum was organized to entice businesses from the United States and other countries to invest in the Philippines, a first of its kind done by a country’s economic team in North America.
During the forum held at the final leg of the President’s visits to the United States and United Nations, the Philippine Team highlighted the current economic status and accomplishments of the country.
The country’s economic managers strategically illustrated the aspirations and plans of the current administration in its aim to bring the Philippines to an upper middle income status economy by 2024, earlier than the administration’s end of term in 2028.
Together with the Tourism Chief at the economic briefing were Department of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio Balisacan, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel Bonoan, Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, Ayala Corporation Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, and Aboitiz Equity Ventures President and CEO Sabin Aboitiz.