• DOT chief wants council to address tourism roadblocks

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    TOURISM Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo said she will reactivate and convene the Tourism Coordinating Council (TCC) so that it can address roadblocks to Philippine tourism such as kidnappings, poor roads, and lack of direct flights to tourist destinations.

    Teo said the TCC has not convened for about 18 months despite many pressing issues in the tourism industry.

    The TCC is comprised of officials of nine government agencies headed by the Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary and is tasked to ensure the smooth implementation of the government’s tourism program.

    Teo said Philippine National Police chief Director General Rolando Dela Rosa has assured police visibility in tourist areas and augmentation of Tourist Police units. She said Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade likewise guaranteed improvements of airport facilities all over the country.

    “Secretary Tugade said airport renovations are already ongoing and new routes as well as direct flights from abroad to Manila and Clark. They are also resolving the shortage of yellow taxicabs,” Teo said.

    The DOT chief also said Public Works Secretary Mark Villar has promised to improve and build more “airport-to-paradise roads” in the country’s tourist destinations.

    During an open forum between the DOT and tourism industry stakeholders, it was pointed out that the TCC should have action plans on issues that affect tourism, such as traffic congestion, destruction of historical sites, the massive number of street people, and “colorum” or unregistered tour guides and taxi services.

    “We cannot sweep these issues under the rug. It is the mandate of the Tourism Coordinating Council to resolve such issues,” Teo said.

    The DOT secretary also called on tourism industry players to actively engage with the DOT to establish partnership in supporting industry product development, marketing and promotion of destinations, data collection, investment, quality improvement, and policy formulations.

    The DOT chief said she wanted a “stable, resilient, sustainable, transformative, inclusive, and shared” Philippine tourism industry.

    “These goals will serve as our guide in crafting policies, programs, and promotional efforts,” Teo said.

    The said goals will also guide the review and discussion of the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), she said, adding that “inputs will be most welcome.”

    “Be assured that we will listen to your suggestions and inputs, so that together we can improve our numbers beyond expectations,” Teo said.

    “I understand how challenging it can be if we are not provided an enabling environment, so that we can enhance our competitiveness in the market,” she added.

    Teo is an industry player herself as head of Mt. Apo Travel and Tours for 14 years before being appointed as DOT secretary.

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