THE Department of Tourism (DOT) is working with local government units (LGUs) to identify every region’s tourism gaps.
“Together with other national government agencies and LGUs, we will identify the tourism gaps in our regions and their localities. And together, we will fill them up with our resources and every support we can muster,” said Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo.
Teo defined tourism gaps as the difference between what the markets expect and require and what the destinations can actually serve.
She underscored the need for the DOT to reach out to the LGUs, knowing the huge contribution of tourism to national employment, tax revenues, GIR (gross international reserves), and GDP (gross domestic product).
In 2015, travel and tourism industry contributed 4.99 million jobs nationwide, P227.62 billion in dollar receipts to GIR, and 10.6 percent to the GDP.
“If we aspire for inclusive growth, then we must encourage inclusive participation at the domestic level in tourism,” said Teo.
The DOT, through its marketing arm Tourism Promotion Board, will showcase in a travel expo next week the country’s natural tourism jewels per region. The expo will also highlight the agency’s partnership with the LGUs and community groups, which are the primary beneficiaries of tourism.
The expo will, likewise, showcase what Filipino domestic travelers can recommend to the world, said the tourism secretary.
“Domestic tourism is a pre-requisite and the foundation of a successful global tourism program. A nation of a domestically well-travelled citizenry has more effective and active marketers than the world’s biggest advertising agency,” said Teo. She added that Filipinos who have travelled around the country can effectively marketing through word-of-mouth.
In Cebu, the DOT 7 pledged to continue providing assistance for the development of community-based enterprises and integrate matters like empowerment of women and host communities; promotion of local food and other cultural offerings; preservation of natural attractions in the countryside; and implementation of risk reduction programs to increase resiliency of communities and minimize the effects of climate change.
DOT 7 Director Catalino Chan III said the agency has conducted a number of product audit and assessments and has facilitated a number of trainings in the province such as product audit and assessment in selected sites within Camotes Island Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, tourism planning for LGUs in Bohol, market profiling for LGUs, and eco-guiding seminar for sites with nature-based activities.