Government urged to identify tourism areas-A A +A
Friday, March 8, 2013
BEFORE tourism stakeholders can embark on new investments to crank up the available facilities for both domestic and international tourists, the government must identify tourism destinations in the country first, a top official of Tourism Educators and Movers Team Philippines said yesterday (TeamTP).
Reacting to President Benigno Aquino III, TeamTP president Robert Lim Joseph said the government should come up with targeted areas in the country where tourism is poised to prosper.
During the opening of the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Events/Exhibitions Conference (MiceCon) 2013 Thursday at the SMX Convention Center, Aquino made the call on hotel operators in the country to build additional 37,000 rooms in preparation for the influx of both domestic and international tourists, which has continued to grow in the recent years.
The Tourism department set a target of about 35.5 million travelers in the country by 2016, but this was already surpassed in 2011 by about two million, prompting the agency to raise its target to 56.1 million domestic travelers.
"If we want to reach a certain level, we have to identify targeted areas. Look at the business plan and we should work in harmony," Joseph said, adding that building additional rooms is not an overnight work.
Joseph lauded Aquino's move to sign into law Senate Bill 3343 or House Bill 6022, which is expected to drive the tourism development in the country.
The law, known as Republic Act 10374, or "an act recognizing the principle of reciprocity as basis for the grant of tax exemptions to international carriers," will exempt shipping companies and airlines from paying the three percent Common Carrier Tax.
To drive further the growth of the industry, a culture of tourism must be developed among areas in the Philippines.
"We have to cascade this culture of tourism all the way to barangay level," he said.
Aquino has vowed the government is developing more tourism infrastructure, from roads, to airports, ports, and terminals.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 09, 2013.