PAMPANGA

Mayoralty bet eyes tourism for employment, economy

CITING an international travel and tourism report that for every 30 new tourists, one new job is created, Angeles City mayoralty bet and Alexander Cauguiran vowed to push the city’s tourism industry to be “one of the key drivers for employment and business opportunities for its residents.”

“According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) travel and tourism report,” the Kambilan official candidate said, “thirty new tourists create one job at the point of destination. This means that if 600,000 new tourists come to Angeles City in one year, we will be able to create 20,000 jobs. With the upgrading of the Clark International Airport (CRK) to service eight million passengers per year, we need to create attractive tourist packages and build better ground infrastructure to increase our share of domestic and foreign tourist arrivals.”

Cauguiran, who was president and chief executive officer of the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) before he filed his certificate of candidacy, issued the statement following the commitment of North Luzon Airport Consortium (NLAC) to invest P6 billion for the modernization of Clark International Airport (CRK) and double its terminal capacity to eight million passengers per year.

Describing its vision for the CRK, Josephine Gotianun-Yap, president and chief executive officer of the Filinvest Development Corporation (FDC), one of the firms that comprise the NLAC, said that transforming “the CRK into a world-class airport will help boost the region’s tourism industry and related businesses.”

“It is NLAC’s vision to redefine the air travel experience at Clark International Airport. The airport will be the Northern and Central Luzon’s gateway, connecting the region to the rest of the Philippines and the world,” Gotianun-Yap said.

“The more tourists,” Cauguiran said, “the more jobs, the more tourism-based enterprises we create. This is precisely the reason why regions, provinces, cities, and municipalities are aggressively competing to attract more tourists to their destinations. Metro Manila and Cebu have become the country’s top tourist destinations primarily because of their airports. But with a bigger and more modern international airport we can now be at par with other top destinations.”

“Aside from generating employment,” Cauguiran said, “the tourism value chain benefits a wide range of local businesses including hotels, restaurants, resorts, transport, travel agencies, health and wellness, souvenirs and handicrafts, food production, other tourism-related enterprises. Tourism is like an export without the goods and services leaving their location. It is a veritable goldmine that we must aggressively but sustainably as well as responsibly exploit.”

“Employment opportunities,” he explained, “will not be solely confined to graduates of tourism courses, as businesses will need drivers, tourist guides and translators, IT technicians, accountants, bookkeepers, cashiers, clerks, janitors and utility men, and other forms of jobs.”

“Our challenge,” he said, “is to be more competitive with other destinations. The best way to do this is to adopt a well-studied framework for travel and tourism competitiveness which the WEF has provided.”

“In the last meeting of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Pampanga (HARP),” Cauguiran said, “I have briefly discussed the specific concerns that the city government must address in the context of the WEF travel and tourism competitiveness model. The four pillars of that model include: Enabling Environment, Travel and Tourism Policy and Enabling Conditions, Infrastructure, and Natural and Cultural Resources.”

“In our party’s platform of government, “he explained, “our initiatives for Enabling Environment include, the ‘ease of doing business;’ development of IT mobile access to information on services, programs, and activities of the city government; grant of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for construction of new hotels and tourism establishments adopting green architecture; ensuring industry workers’ access to quality hospitalization services at the Ospital ng Angeles (ONA); maintenance of peace and order and solutions to vehicular traffic problems; and improvement of sanitation and hygiene throughout the city.”

“Initiatives under Travel and Tourism Policy and Enabling Conditions,” he continued, “shall include a 5-year tourism development plan in coordination with the private sector and tourism-related organizations, and the Department of Tourism and its attached agencies; implementation of a branding strategy for Angeles City in coordination with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB); and yearly strategic planning to be participated in by the city’s tourism industry stakeholders.”

“In support of the private sector’s improvement of their hotels and ground infrastructure, the city government shall initiate the construction of “last mile” roads connecting the national highways with existing or potential tourist destinations areas in the city in coordination with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA); and the installation of more streetlights in areas frequented by tourists,” he said.

As one of the founders of Tigtikan-Terakan Keng Dalan (TTKD) which has now gained widespread popularity, Cauguiran vowed to make the event as one of the yearly attractions for domestic and foreign tourists. “We want it bigger, better, and more tourist-friendly,” he said.

Cauguiran also proposed the establishment of a world-class cuisine institute to be funded by the city government, to make Angeles City internationally known for its food and delicacies. “We shall promote our culture, as a showcase of our identity and as a source of pride of Angelenos,” he said.

“We shall coordinate with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the National Historical Institute of the Philippines (NHIP) to help identify, preserve and protect more historical, religious, heritage, and cultural sites in Angeles City,” Cauguiran said.


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