TOURISM Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat outlined the Philippines' national policy for sustainable tourism development and response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic before the Japanese travel market during the opening of the month-long 2nd Online Travel Mart of the Japan Association of Travel Agents Association (JATA).

The tourism chief led the country presentation last October 27 and was one of the panelists of the International Tourism Forum (ITF), which also included luminaries of the Japan travel industry such as Milton Morinaga, chairman of the board of Guam Tourist Bureau, and Eijiro Yamakita, president and chief executive officer of the Japan Travel Bureau.

The panelists also highlighted their respective policies on the Osaka event's theme "How to create a better tourism value chain" and environment for the consumers as well as for the travel business.

Puyat shared the DoT's tourism programs, namely the Tourism Response and Recovery Plan and the reformulated National Tourism Development Plan for 2020 to 2022.

The panelists lauded the DoT's push for the prioritization of the vaccination of tourism frontliners. "We must adopt a balanced approach, factoring in economic viability, job generation and environmental sustainability," Puyat said.

Puyat added that the pandemic gave rise to the opportunity for the tourism industry to recalibrate toward being more responsible, accountable, inclusive and sustainable. She also touted the Filipino brand of service, saying "We are a nation that is committed to welcoming our guests with a smile and offering our best products and services." Puyat also called on the JATA executives to seek cooperation and active participation in DoT Team Japan projects. She also gave an update to the virtual audience on Boracay rehabilitation programs. JATA conferred on Puyat the Excellent Partner Award for DoT's role in the rehabilitation of the island on the occasion of JATA Tourism Expo Japan 2019.

The 2nd JATA Online Travel Mart runs from October 17 to November 30, 2021.