DOT Chief bats for sustainable programs and agri-tourism
Text and photo by Monsi A. Serrano
Department of Tourism (DoT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat pushed for programs on sustainable development and farm tourism when she spoke before tourism stakeholders at the recent Globe Breakthroughs: Tourism Conference in Taguig City.
Puyat, whose leadership saw through the increase in the number of tourist arrivals in the Philippines despite the closure of Boracay for rehabilitation last year, keynoted the event that gathered more than 200 tourism industry leaders, business owners, and other key players for a day-long conference at SMX Aura in Taguig last March 22.
Organized by Globe myBusiness, the event was a venue for tourism stakeholders to share their experiences in capitalizing on technology in order to promote Philippine tourism.
In her experience, Puyat said that her visits to various tourism destinations in the country allowed her to see and understand better what needs to be improved in existing tourism programs.
As examples, she cited neglect for nature, the lack of discipline in garbage disposal, and even the overloading of boats as problems that need to be addressed in order to bring forth sustainable tourism and development.
“Tourism is a multifaceted industry. The only way to enhance it is through a holistic development of the sector. We will be advocates of responsible tourist destinations and we will be champions of sustainable tourism to create a dependable source of income for Filipinos,” Puyat said.
Unless such an approach is implemented, along with the help of the private sector, all the efforts of the DoT to boost tourism in various areas may go to waste.
Furthermore, the Tourism Chief urged the enterprising Filipinos to reinvent tourism by also embarking on farm tourism projects as a vital part of countryside development.
“I have to tell you that malapit sa puso ko ang farming,” said Puyat, a former undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA). “For several years, I worked with the farmers… and I am very much aware of their needs and their struggles. I did my very best in helping them during my stint in DA. That is the reason why I have been pushing for agri-tourism. So, when we reinvent tourism and break away from our myopic view of what tourism is, then we are limiting what our country can offer to the world,” she said.
Interestingly, the local tourism industry plays a vital role in adding to the financial and employment growth of the Philippine economy. In 2017 alone, tourism contributed around 21 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP)and spurred the expansion of other industries such as real estate, food, and transportation sectors.
Puyat said that with the availability of the technology, it would certainly enhance in promoting our tourism around the world.
With the advent of digital technology, this will oblige others to adapt and be innovative in doing their respective tourism related businesses like lodging, transportation service and booking that would broaden their market for both local and foreign tourists.
But more than taking advantage of the available technology, Puyat wants holistic development of the sector. She highlighted the need for stakeholders to champion responsible and sustainable tourism that would ensure income stability for Filipinos.
“With all the positive changes that we aim to bring forward in the next four years, we invite the private sectors to be our partners in responsibly developing tourism products, infrastructure and services,” she said.
“With this thrust and vision of the DOT, the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would really benefit from the tourism industry this includes those engaged in the accommodation and food services sectors, have benefited from the unprecedented growth in the tourism industry and the rise in the number of visitors to the Philippines, which reached a record 7.1 million in 2018, up 7.65 percent from 2017”, she added.
For its part, Globe myBusiness committed to give the tourism sector a boost by empowering the industry, particularly SMEs, through digitalization. It endeavors to help industry stakeholders sharpen their competitive edge against new entrants; help them understand the causes of attrition so that they can improve their retention rate; and enhance their marketing capabilities so that they can expand their market share and boost their businesses.
Michelle Tapia, head of Strategy, Innovation and Transformation at Globe myBusiness, said: “Breakthroughs: Tourism is a testament to our commitment to empower small and medium businesses to thrive despite the challenges they encounter day-to-day by helping them use innovative technologies as a business advantage.”
“For the tourism industry, we’re not only helping them understand digital disruption but enabling them to take advantage of it in creating the future of travel and tourism through talks on the changes and trends in their business environment and a visioning workshop to create the future of the tourism industry,” she added.
The tourism conference has provided opportunities for participants to understand the future of the tourism industry, the challenges they need to face and cope with amid the fast evolution of technology, and the ongoing revolution in the digital world.
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