DEPARTMENT of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo met with some stakeholders last weekend in Davao City, for a brief and casual lunch to touch base with the tourism partners. This is part of the series of consultations with the private sector.

Sharing the tourism direction for the next six years, the secretary emphasized that she and her team will visit the various regions to listen to the stakeholders. “Whatever direction we pursue will not be as successful unless we listen to what our stakeholders have to say, factor in their inputs so that the plans will not just be DOT’s plan– it will be OUR collective plan.”

Emphasizing on stable, resilient, sustainable, transformative, inclusive and shared tourism, Secretary Teo wanted a brand of tourism that is by the people through the contribution of the many enterprises engaged in the business and in service of tourism; of the people because it conserves and promotes our heritage, national identity and sense of unity; and most importantly, for the Filipino people because what we do contributes meaningfully to their livelihood and their long-term aspirations – a better life for themselves, their families, their communities and our country.

“For Mindanao, we shall put forward a Mindanao Tourism Agenda. We will do this in consultation with you. We will strengthen the Bimp-Eaga especially our Philippine participation in this growth corridor. In fact, I am putting up a DOT Office of the secretary here in Davao, the home of our President,” Secretary Teo said.

She further added that the accreditation system is being reviewed to encourage more tourism players to improve their quality of services.

Acknowledging the great potential of the Mice market, especially for Mice Mindanao, DOT will take a second look into this sector to see what could be done to ensure that the country will get more share of the events and conferences especially in 2017 where the Asean will celebrate its 50th year. “I want Mindanao to take advantage of this event and play host to some of the meetings and events,” Secretary Teo added.

As DOT gears up for the hosting of the Miss Universe in 2017, she is hoping to have Mindanao host activities and events as well.

Other programs being looked into are agri-eco tourism, homestay initiatives, medical tourism and retirement services.

She reiterated once again the support needed from the private sector in the review and discussion of the National Tourism Development Plan and their cooperation in ensuring that more and better tourism products and services are made available to the tourists. She wants support in the aggressive marketing and promotions of our tourism destinations. She also highlighted the active participation in data collection initiatives for a better basis for tourism statistics so tourism investments are guided.

Having come from the private sector, the secretary mentioned the challenges of the tourism private sector if not given an enabling environment to enhance the competitiveness in the market, thus her assurance that DOT will listen to the private sector’s suggestions and inputs.

Capping her speech with the challenge to the private sector to be partners in making the tourism industry fulfil its promise to improve the lives of the Filipinos because, according to the Secretary, at the end of the day, that is the real mission.

The Davao private sector gathering is just one of the series to be done in the coming months. DOT already came up with a national gathering of national tourism leaders to introduce the Secretary and her incoming team.