Speaking before members of the press during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay on Wednesday (May 24), Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco discussed the tourism roadmap for the Philippines under the post-pandemic economy and the efforts of the Department to transform the Philippines into a tourism powerhouse in Asia.
The Secretary also answered questions on the latest developments of the industry as guest for the interview with veteran journalist Marichu Villanueva at Cafe Adriatico in Malate, Manila.
𝗣𝗛𝗟 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗽𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝘁’𝗹, 𝗹𝗼𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗹, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀
In a bid to transform the Philippines as a tourism powerhouse in Asia, she said the Marcos administration has continuously promoted the Philippines domestically and globally.
“Through the efforts of the DOT and our attached agency, the Tourism Promotions Board, we have ushered in no less than P3.33 billion in estimated sales leads generated out of the various international expos that we have participated in across all hemispheres in the world–in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, the Americas and the like. And domestically, we have also tried to connect our regions to each other in terms of promotions and access to connectivity and travel opportunities such as our North Luzon Travel Expo, our Mindanao Travel Expo, and soon—our Central Philippines Travel Expo, because admittedly, siguro meron pa tayong mga kababayan na living in Luzon for example, that have never to Mindanao, living in Central Visayas, that have never been to the hinterlands of northern Luzon,” she said.
𝗣𝗛𝗟 𝘁𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗺 𝗯𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴
On the highly anticipated launch of the enhanced tourism slogan, the tourism chief underscored that while the agency will continue to market the country as a “fun destination,” it would also highlight that the Philippines is a destination with a rich and diverse Filipino culture that can offer substantial, immersive, and purposeful experiences, perfectly matched with the love and warm hospitality of the Filipino people.
“We are enhancing the tourism slogan and we’ll definitely take into consideration the opinion of our various stakeholders. May I just highlight that global trends, supported by data from various reliable and reputable tourism-related publications, have indicated that post-pandemic, people’s reasons for travel have also changed, chief of which is that people now wish to have some sense of substantive, immersive, and cultural authentic experiences where they have opportunities to get to know the culture of the place that they’re visiting. People also value the opportunity to get to know communities. These trends correspond very well to the assets of Philippines tourism that have yet to be fully maximized–our culture, our people, our communities. And that is why the enhanced tourism slogan will give our country an opportunity to market itself not just as a fun destination, which it will continue to be, but also a destination for everything else that includes highlighting our culture and our people,” she said.
𝗜𝗻𝘃𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗣𝗛𝗟 𝘁𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗺
“May I also qualify that the promotion of the Philippines tourism does not hinge on a branding campaign alone. More importantly, it highly depends on product development, improving aspects of the Philippine tourism industry that situates our country lower than our ASEAN neighbors,” the tourism chief added, highlighting the importance of infrastructure, connectivity, and digitalization which have been identified by the President as a priority of the current administration.
Also highlighting the need for tourism infrastructure, Secretary Frasco discussed the existing flagship tourism enterprise zones (TEZ) that are ready for investment which include San Vicente, Palawan; Panglao Island in Bohol, Corregidor Island in Cavite; Mt. Samat in Bataan; Clark, Pampanga; the vicinity of Rizal Park where the Manila Ocean Park is presently located; and 15 other registered TEZs.
“So, what our fellow Filipinos can expect is that the Marcos Administration is investing in tourism, not just in our well-known destinations, but also in our lesser known destinations,” the Secretary said.
𝗥𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗹𝗮 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗣𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲
Meanwhile, with the recent burning of the historic Manila Central Post Office, the tourism chief called it a “tragedy in terms of heritage” and emphasized that it should receive “national attention and support” as a cultural treasure.
As the DOT recognizes the heritage value of the structure, she likewise noted that the Department will extend all possible support from the DOT to ensure its rehabilitation.
“The incident concerning the unfortunate burning down of the Post Office is a tragedy in terms of heritage and it is such a cultural treasure that deserves national attention and support. We note the remarks that have been made by the City Government of Manila that has assured that it will not be torn down. From our end from the Department of Tourism, recognizing the heritage value of this structure, we are prepared to follow through on the direction that the Marcos Administration would wish to take in terms of how to rehabilitate the structure, especially considering that our attached agency TIEZA has long lent assistance in terms of rehabilitation of heritage structures,” she said.
To recall, the National Museum of the Philippines in 2018 declared the Post Office building as an Important Cultural Property (ICP) as it possesses “exceptional cultural, artistic, and historical significance.”