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The business of tourism

This was the theme of the recent Tourism Forum hosted by the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) at the SMX Convention Center, with Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo delivering the Keynote Address.  It was an opportunity for me to link up with old-time friends in the Industry and also to catch up on the latest in the business that I have been involved with all my professional life.

Secretary Teo reiterated the significant details of our country’s National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), which is the basis of all tourism-related events and strategies embarked on by the Agency starting this year until 2022.  For those of us in the industry, we laud Secretary Teo’s having reactivated the Tourism Coordinating Council because the insights and input of representatives from the travel sector, the tourism stakeholders and from other government agencies who work with the Industry, have now been consolidated and included in the NTDP.

The morning session explored how the tourism industry continues to be a good “transport system” for its inclusive growth and how this role needs to be further strengthened, as part of our country’s national agenda.  

From left: PHILTOA President Cesar Cruz, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, and Tourism USec. Alma Rita Jimenez

Rolando, Tungpalan, NEDA undersecretary for Investment Program, detailed his agency’s current system, designed to be carried out until 2040, and which has been very effective in helping out business enterprises prosper, becoming competitive with those of our neighboring countries.  It was also very comforting to see in the graph he showed that our country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.5 percent during the second quarter of this year, as agriculture recovered and government spending picked up.  This is a big improvement from the slowdown the past three quarters.

Assistant Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Ireneo Vizmonte, shared with the audience, which was made up mostly of tourism practitioners, how DTI has been helping the micro, small and medium enterprises through incentives and easy-on-the-pocket loans.  What made his talk really significant was when he announced the Department’s move of “greening” the tourism value chain, a noteworthy strategy because the buzzword these days is the industry’s putting value on the shift to sustainable tourism.

Before lunch was served, two more “icons” in the tourism industry went up on stage to talk about the various jobs available to fresh graduates and other career-oriented individuals. Jojo Clemente, president of Rajah Tours Philippines, and Margie Munsayac, vice-president for Sales and Marketing of the Cebu-based Maribago Bluewater Group, pointed out in detail the qualifications required of those who intend to establish their careers in the Industry.  

From left: Tourism Educator Paul Lim So, PTAA President Marlene Dado-Jante, Rajah Tours President Jojo Clemente, Hotel Industry veteran Rose Libongco, Maribago Bluewater Group’s Margie Munsayac, and HSMA President Christine Ann Ibarreta

Clemente stressed that, more than the qualifications, the person’s attitude and work ethics are the keys to a bright future.  For her part, Munsayac announced that, in accordance with the DOT’s move to increase MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) business to our country, her hotels have upgraded their facilities to accommodate such business, hence, will require trained Events Management individuals to be part of her team.

The morning session ended with a very interesting talk by Mori Rodriguez, chief innovation officer of EON Inc., about the Philippine Trust Index, which sheds light on the Filipinos’ trust in society’s key institutions—the government, business sector, media, non-governmental organizations, the Church and the Academe.  

Rodriguez highlighted in his Presentation that there is a rise in uncertainty all over the world.  There is also a rise in social media’s ubiquity and its power to influence real-world outcomes.  Also, there is an increase in demands placed on institutions to do well and to do good. The world is experiencing a crisis of trust, yet, here in our country, trust is on the rise, and the most trusted government officer is our President, while the government officer that has raked in the most number of negative comments in social media is the Vice President.  All these interesting research output are published by EON Inc. in a report entitled, “The Philippine Paradox.”

Presented by the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, Global Leadership Initiatives for Sustainable Tourism, and Price Waterhouse Cooper, this edition of the Philippine Tourism Forum certainly gave us a better perspective of the Business of Tourism through a better understanding of People Development and the Industry’s Employment Standards.

For feedback, I’m at [email protected]

Topics: The business of tourism , Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo , Rolando , Tungpalan , Ireneo Vizmonte , Jojo Clemente , Margie Munsayac
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