Gov’t revitalizing local tourism

The administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is finding ways to boost local tourism following the unprecedented impact on the industry by the Covid-19 pandemic, putting millions of jobs at risk.

The President on Thursday convened with the Private Sector Advisory Council, composed of Philippine-based business leaders, to discuss how to increase tourism and business locally after the pandemic-induced lockdowns, closing of borders and airports as well as restrictions on mass gatherings and land travel.

“Now is the best time to revitalize the tourism industry, and it can only be achieved with the help of our private sector,” Marcos said in a social media post.

Malacañang has yet to provide details about the government’s plans to enhance the competitiveness of the country’s tourism industry and provide vast employment opportunities.

The meeting was attended by PSAC lead convenor Sabin Aboitiz (Aboitiz Group) and member Joji Gotianum Yap (Filinvest Development Corporation), PSAC Tourism Sector Group, including Frederick Go (Robinsons Land Corporation), Roberto Claudio Sr. (Philippine Retailers Association), and Rene Limcaoco (Hertz Philippines).

Also present were Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar (Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.), Leslie Vanessa Lim (Robinsons Land Corporation), and Mary Geraldine Polanco-Onganon (Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.).

The Marcos administration is prioritizing the construction of additional airports and improving roads to entice more foreign and local tourists, which will help tourism workers get back on their feet.

Due to the travel restrictions and closure of businesses, countless tourism workers and tourism businesses suffered financial losses at the height of the pandemic.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, there are at least 4.9 million tourism workers in the country as of 2021.

For PSAC, meanwhile, promoting the natural beauty of the Philippines will help the tourism industry recover.

The PSAC recommended to the President to increase international visitation, strengthen domestic tourism, and promote tourism investments.

The private council also advised the President to build tourism infrastructure, and improve the national brand and image of the Philippines by correcting false perceptions and promoting its true qualities.

“These would lay the foundation for long-term tourism and economic development nationwide, making the Philippines the ideal tourist destination — home to warm and friendly Filipinos, a rich and vibrant culture and cuisine, and many of the world’s most stunningly beautiful islands and beaches,” PSAC said.

“With no lack of natural and cultural wonders nor want of a more hospitable people, the recommendations focused on promoting the unique beauty the Philippines has been blessed with,” it added.

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