REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM

Kagawaran ng Turismo

Local News

 

Honorable Department Secretaries, Undersecretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Directors, Officials and Tourism Coordinating Council (TCC) member agencies, our dear industry convergence partners, ladies and gentlemen, a very pleasant morning.

In behalf of the Department of Tourism, I thank you all for your presence here, today.

I cannot stress enough the importance of the Tourism Coordinating Council or TCC, the 25—member agency body created under Republic Act 9593 (Tourism Act of 2009, Section 133) to serve as the coordinating body for national tourism development efforts including the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP). The membership includes heads of concerned national agencies and government offices, DOT attached agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, and the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) representing the private sector. The last TCC meeting was held two years ago, 23 February 2017 with the approval and adoption of the NTDP 2016—2022 as one of the highlights. The Plan was approved by the President during the 14th Cabinet meeting in April 2017.

We are gathered here today to meet as a national tourism body and to gauge how we have performed in the last three years as far as the implementation of the NTDP 2016—2022 is concerned. The NTDP has provided us with a clear track towards a competitive, sustainable and inclusive tourism industry that is anchored on the thrusts of the current administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

But before we proceed, allow me to give you the good news: Tourism is at its most exciting times. The Philippines has kept a high profile in the world tourism radar. We are still among the sought—after destinations by many foreign travelers. In fact, foreign tourist arrivals to the country continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

We have the numbers to illustrate this. As of the first half of 2019, we have seen an all—time high of 4,133,050 international tourists, marking an 11.43 percent increase compared to figures last year. This is according to the January to June arrival and departure cards and shipping manifests gathered by DOT's Statistics, Economic Analysis and Information Management Division (SEAMID).

According to the January to June 2019 statistics, Korea remains as the country's top source market with 946,025 arrivals to the country, which makes up 22.89 percent of the total market share.

This is followed by China with 866,561; the US with 569,204 arrivals; Japan with 326,907 visitors and Taiwan with 159,532 foreign arrivals.

Overall, our country reached an estimated amount of Php245 billion in visitor receipts during the first six months of this year. This is a huge spike of 17.57% from the half-year gross revenues in 2018.

The third engine of economic growth, tourism contributed 12.7 percent to the country's GDP. It has generated new jobs that employed 5.4 million people last year, chalking up 13 percent of the total employment in the country.

As we reach this halfway mark, it is time for us to come together and evaluate all our tourism convergence efforts, assess the effectiveness of the strategies and programs identified, make adjustments on the Plan if needed, and prioritize the completion of remaining tasks at hand to ensure that the NTDP targets are achieved by its completion in 2022.

When I took the helm as Tourism Secretary, I made it clear to our stakeholders that my leadership will be firm in its role as advocates of sustainable and responsible tourism while we achieve our targets for each year. And so, I have set my priority thrusts to:

1. Pursue strong partnerships to ensure sustainable development of tourism;
2. Review and assess existing tourism products while conceptualizing and developing new products;
3. Expand the current market base;
4. Improve policies on access, connectivity and security;
5. Evaluate and endorse tourism development projects for investments;
6. Restart global advertising and promotions efforts;
7. Continuously monitor and enforce mandatory accreditation; and
8. Encourage and assist LGUs in crafting a sustainable tourism development plan.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, our convergence partners, for your unwavering support for the realization of our Plan: the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for facilitating hassle-free trips for visitors going to our tourism sites through improved roads and bridges; the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for continuously improving our airports and seaports, as well as our transportation system; the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for levelling up the country's communication facilities; the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and all our friends from other national agencies.

Later, we will provide some updates on the NTDP 2016—2022 and our convergence programs with the DPWH and DOTr on the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program (TRIP) and Leveraging Infrastructure Program on Airport Development (LIPAD). The DOT's new Program on Transforming Communities towards Resilient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Tourism (or TouRIST) will likewise be presented. It is my hope that we will have productive and fruitful discussions today.

Together, let us all make tourism work for our countrymen. Let us be the driving force of a world—class, competitive, sustainable and inclusive tourism industry.

Thank you and Mabuhay!



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