It is now imperative for government to adopt and implement an integrated approach in tourism development.
The House Committee on Tourism is now in receipt of HB 3030 which seeks to establish an Intergovernmental Task Force for International Visitor Assistance hereinafter referred to as the “Task Force.”
“We have yet to achieve or realize tourism’s full potential as an important economic tool necessary for national development,” stressed authors Reps. Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur) and Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga).
“This is a humble attempt to make the Philippines a premier travel and tourism destination in the world,” the authors said without downgrading the current tourism efforts of the country.
Arroyo said that the tourism industry has been branded as an “engine of economic growth” given its capacity to boost and jumpstart any economy especially countries like the Philippines.
“Tourism, aside from OFW remittances, is a consistent source of foreign exchange earnings and employment opportunities and also promotes international goodwill,” Arroyo pointed out.
Furthermore, tourism highlights and makes known to the global community the rich and colorful socio-cultural life of Filipinos, the Arroyos said.
The proposed statute, to be known as the “Visit the Philippines Act of 2013,” and the Task Force shall be composed of the Secretary of Tourism as Chairman with the following as members: the Secretary of Interior and Local Government; the Secretary of Transportation and Communications; and such other representatives of other government agencies and private sector entities as may be determined to be appropriate by the Chairman to the mission of the Task Force.
On the use of funds, the authors proposed that none of the funds appropriated may be used for purposes other than marketing, research, or any other activity designed to promote the country as the premier travel and tourism destination in the world.
The Secretary (of the Task Force) shall submit to the relevant Committee of Congress an annual detailed report on matters enumerated in Section 4 of the proposed Act such as the manner in which appropriated funds were used, and changes in the Philippine market share of international tourism in general and as measured against specific countries and regions, among other mandates.
Among the Task Force’s vital duties include the review of signage at facilities in the country, including airports, seaports, land border crossings, highways, and bus, train, and other public transit locations, and shall identify existing inadequacies and suggest solutions for such inadequacies, such as the adoption of uniform standards on signage for use throughout the country in order to facilitate international visitors’ travel in the Philippines.
Likewise, the Task Force shall review the availability of multilingual travel and tourism information and means of disseminating at no or minimal cost to the government of such information.
Another is to facilitate the establishment of a toll-free, private sector operated telephone number, staffed by multilingual operators, to provide assistance to international tourists coping with an emergency.
HB 3030 also provides that not later than eighteen (18) months after the date of enactment, the Chairman shall submit to the President and to Congress a report on the results of the review, including proposed amendments to existing laws or regulations as may be appropriate to implement such recommendations. PNA