We can see how serious the country is in further strengthening our tourism industry because we often hear of events that continue to upgrade the knowledge and skills of our industry players.
Just the other day, Go Negosyo and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Philippines, together with the Department of Tourism and the Tourism Promotions Board hosted a very well attended Tourism Summit 2019 to discuss the business aspect of our tourism industry.
Also in attendance were several business chambers, tourism organizations, business groups whose member-enterprises are related to the tourism industry, students from approximately 100 universities and colleges, government officers from around the country, and the diplomatic corps. Organizers readily claimed that around 10,000 delegates participated in the whole-day event.
The program included five very interesting fora which corresponded to the 5As of tourism. Each forum had an illustrious set of panelists who were considered the leading personalities in a particular sector of the industry, discussing all business opportunities related to such sector.
The first forum tackled ARRIVAL, discussing more channels for tourists’ arrival, whether by air, sea, or land. There was talk of boosting investment in building airports, seaports, and other transportation hubs in strategic points in the country, like Laoag, Subic-Clark, Manila, Cebu, and Davao. These hubs can serve as centers of business for SMEs, especially in retail and in service.
The second forum discussed ACCESS, meaning, the physical infrastructure that can make it easy for tourists to travel to a certain destination. There is a need to build additional highways and roads which can conveniently connect the tourists to the airports, their accommodations or their sightseeing destinations. But, not just that, access also refers to the network of utilities, such as power, water, and communication services.
The third forum centered on ACCOMMODATIONS which should be available to all kinds of tourists, from backpackers to budget travelers, to discriminating luxury guests. Of course, the discussion here covered our luxury hotels, resorts, condotels, B&Bs, inns, lodges, and homestays.
The fourth forum covered ATTRACTIONS which our country has plenty of, whether man-made or natural. And, as expected, a long discussion on sustainability ensued. As we all know, this is a big problem our country is currently facing. We have the beautiful attractions but we don’t have an effective monitoring system that will ensure sustainability of our local points of interest. We learned a very expensive and daunting lesson with Boracay.
The last forum was on ACTIVITIES which include festivals, cultural events, sports events, shopping, etc., meant to further enhance the tourists’ experience while they are visiting a particular destination in our country.
Joey Concepcion, Go Negosyo founder and presidential assistant for entrepreneurship, hit it right on the head when he said that tourism has been a core industry in our country for several decades now and will continue to be so because ours is a country blessed with beautiful natural attractions.
I hasten to add to that our uniqueness as a people—our innate warmth, hospitality, and alluring mystique which can easily mesmerize first-time travelers to our country—ensures us a steady flow of tourists.
Thank God for our President’s Build, Build, Build initiative. It paves the way for more domestic destinations for tourists to choose from. This spreads the tourism “bounty” to the other parts of our country, improving their economy and the overall status of our countrymen in those areas. This is why playmakers in the business and tourism sectors are all over the place, finding ways to make the industry as vibrant as possible. As Joey Concepcion rightfully declares, “A boost in tourism is a boost to our economy.” Of course, when the economy is on the upswing, it’s definitely going to be “more fun in the Philippines.”
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