Protectionism stalls growth


DOT chief cites fundamental flaw
PHILIPPINE tourism is dangerously close to losing momentum because of protectionism, according to Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr.

Jimenez told members of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) that protectionism is a fundamental flow of Philippine business.

He said the country’s tourism industry needs to open up to more international players for it to sustain strong growth. TCP President Rosanna Tuason-Fores said “we need to strengthen the industry and ensure that we are globally competitive. One way to go about it is for everyone involved in the tourism industry to look at potential international partnerships.”

“Should local players want to align, we will assist and protect them. They will be mentored on the structure of the partnerships they should be entertaining. Local players should find their niche. There are different demographics for everyone,” Tuason-Fores said.

Tuason-Fores also emphasized that once more foreign players enter the country, the TCP and the DOT have to ensure that small and medium scale enterprises will benefit and that a multiplier effect will be created within the entire industry.

Jimenez also said that if no risks are taken or if partnerships will not be considered, there would be not enough room to grow and the country would remain a big fish in a small pond.

Jimenez also said there is a need for everyone in the industry to work together to effectively meet the demands. He cited that currently the Philippines is outpacing its neighbors in terms of average tourist receipts.

Last year, the TCP went on an extensive cross-country consultative meeting with tourism industry players to keep them updated on the coming ASEAN integration and keep a pulse on their concerns and needs.

The consultative meetings were supported by the DOT along with USAID, Asian Development Bank, and the Canada International Development Agency.


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