Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco convened the Tourism Coordinating Council (TCC) in a meeting held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where she laid down the strategic directions that the Department will take in a bid to hasten the recovery of the pandemic-hit sector.
This is the first time that the council convened under the Marcos Administration with the last meeting held in November 2020.
Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009 states that the Tourism Coordinating Council shall serve as a coordinating body for national tourism development efforts. The Tourism Secretary serves as the chairperson with heads of DOT attached agencies, heads of national agencies, and representatives of private and public sectors as members.
“I am looking forward to our exchange today as we lay out our plans for 2023 and onwards under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.,” Frasco said as she welcomed the attendees of the meeting.
The council is mandated to carry out functions deemed vital to the tourism industry such as the preparation of a five-year strategic plan to develop a culture of tourism, approved annual infrastructure program that shall promote access to and from airports and seaports, and tourism enterprise zones (TEZs) and other tourism destinations, as well as create committees and technical working groups in pursuit of its functions.
Presentation of Tourism Blueprint
Underscoring the critical role of tourism, Frasco provided the TCC with an overview of the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2022 to 2028.
“This National Tourism Development Plan for 2023 to 2028 envisions transforming the Philippine tourism industry to becoming a tourism powerhouse of Asia.”
“This National Tourism Development Plan for 2023 to 2028 envisions transforming the Philippine tourism industry to becoming a tourism powerhouse of Asia, that is anchored in the Filipino identity, on sustainability, resilience, and global competitiveness, and that benefits the Filipino people,” the tourism chief explained.
“The NTDP is framed by the strategic values of Philippine Identity, Sustainability, Resilience, and Global Competitiveness. Our programs should reflect these values if we are to truly seize the opportunities for long-term growth for our industry. But these programs can and should be implemented through the strategic approaches of Convenience, Connectivity, and E-Quality, keeping in mind our collective duty to create positive experiences of our most important stakeholders – our travelers and the many tourism communities across the country,” the tourism head added.
The DOT targets to roll out the NTDP by March of this year.
“Putting our heads together, we can easily make success out of the rebirth of our tourism industry.”
“I’m glad that you did call a meeting because first of all, the newly-elected board of TCP would like to express our all-out support for the revised NTDP and we know that with everybody’s help, putting our heads together, we can easily make success out of the rebirth of our tourism industry,” said Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) President Roberto Zozobrado.
“Definitely, your National Development Plan is something that we will support. We see in your vision an integrated tourism development plan,” enthused Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary Roberto Lim.
Full Domestic Recovery in 2023
Frasco also outlined the programs and projects that are currently being implemented such as the establishment of Tourist Rest Areas across the country, the enhancement of airports and seaports, and incorporation of the Filipino brand piloted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, as well as the provision of internet connection to at least 94 tourism destinations as part of the Memorandum of Agreement between the DOT and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT); and projects in the pipeline such as the creation of a Tourist Lifecycle App, establishment of a Tourist Call Center and the anticipated signing of agreement with the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior Labor and Government (DILG) recognizing the necessity of ensuring peace and security in tourist sites.
With many of the projects already in full swing, she made a fearless forecast of full domestic recovery this year.
“Even as the pandemic set back our gains, the momentum for recovery and growth is already here. We see domestic tourism recovering to 2019 levels this year, and international tourism next year,” Frasco said.
“You hear it; you see it; you feel it. The time of the Philippines is now. The possibilities for Philippine tourism are endless. With your continued support we will accomplish our goals for a tourism industry that is a major economic pillar for our country,” Frasco said in her closing remarks as she rallied the support of all tourism stakeholders present.
Among the attendees of the meeting were National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Executive Director Oscar Casaysay, Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy Chief for Operations PLT Gen Benjamin Santos, Jr., OIC- Executive Director National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Carmina Arevalo, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Gina Jamoralin, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Vice President For Marketing Ricardo Faraon. Also present are heads of the attached agencies of the DOT.