• Database for expanded tourism sites sought

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    The Department of Tourism (DoT) should craft an expanded database of tourist destinations in each province to increase arrivals in the country, a lawmaker said on Sunday.

    Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte issued the call in connection with the D0T’s  plan to set up a database to customize tourism promotion strategies by coming up with theme-based offerings, such as fitness, fun, family, farm and faith tourism.

    The expanded database, Villafuerte said, should include information about a community’s tourist spots, the type of visitors they attract, what tourists do, the length of their stay, how much they spend, the number of hotels in a certain locality, occupancy rates  and the different forms of paid accommodation available.

    “Local elective officials play a critical role in developing and ensuring the success of a sustainable tourism industry as they are directly responsible for the management of the tourist destinations and resources in their respective areas of jurisdiction,” he noted in a statement.

    “Domestic tourism will let regions gear up for the planned switch to the federal form of government where they could use the revenues they generate to fund their development programs,” the congressman said.

    Villafuerte cited the case of his home province, which he said has scored a success in promoting it as a sports and adventure destination for wakeboarding, kitesurfing and triathlon.

    “Sports hubs tend to get a high number of repeat visitors who have to stay weeks ahead before a sports event to acclimatize themselves, return to the place to improve their skills and come with their relatives and friends in tow,” he said.

    Last month, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo appealed to  members of media as well as Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo to tone down reports on alleged extrajudicial killings because it was becoming hard for her agency to entice tourists to come to the country.

    The brutal anti-drug war of the Duterte administration has allegedly left at least 4,000 drug suspects dead while thousands  were also allegedly summarily executed, according to a US newspaper.

     NELSON S. BADILLA

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