Tourism leader sees need for storm-hit areas to start recovering

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Association of Southeast Asian Nations Tourism Association (Aseanta) Deputy Executive Aileen Clemente said on Wednesday that tourism, trading and other economic activities in areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda “may continue” beyond 20 days after the storm hit the Visayas region on November 8.

Clemente told reporters at the Asean Tourism Leaderspeak Forum that normally, relief operations done after a calamity lasts eight to 20 days, and trading and economic activities should resume beyond the 20th day.

The Aseanta deputy executive recommended that the government have a “universal template” for the national and local government to follow, especially to deal with situations caused by Yolanda.

“[The template] should come for the task force—both sides of the national government and local . . . They should get the best practices all ready [for the sectors’ development],” Clemente said.


She noted that on the lighter side, the super typhoon made the location of the Philippines known to several nations worldwide, which can bring a lot of possibilities in the country’s getting financial and in-kind donations for relief and recovery operations.

“If I look at it positively, what this typhoon brought to the [tourism]industry is [countries]already know where the Philippines is,” she said.

“Also, if you know how to capitalize that, cause I’ve seen campaigns like ‘Philippines, we’ll never forget you’ or our hands reaching out to other countries . . . There’s already an international tie up, so how do you bring them here,” Clemente added.

Meanwhile, for the upcoming 2015 Asean Economic Community (AEC) integration, Clemente said that compared to other Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines is ready “to a certain extent,” and things still depends on the government on where it “identifies itself to be ready for.”

“There are portions of the country that’s ready, [it]depends on what the government identifies itself to be ready for. Are they ready for 10 million tourists? Or more? Is our current airport structure enough? If they say it’s enough, then it’s enough. But are they readying for more? Where is that plan,” Clemente said.

For the tourism industry, the National Tourism Development Plan serves as the roadmap and provides the country the guidelines pre- and post-AEC by 2015.

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