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LACK OF INFRASTRUCTURE LIMITS TOURISM GROWTH


Hotel developers and operators are expected to benefit from the expected growth in the Philippine tourism industry over the next decade, but challenges remain in terms of the much-needed infrastructure for an additional influx of tourists, according to a hospitality branding expert. James Stuart, managing partner of Asia’s branding company for hospitality The Brand Co. and author of the book “Hotel Brand Bites” which is focused on hospital brand management, said in an email that a significant increase in the number and type of tourism properties being opened in the Philippines this year and beyond is expected as the country is seen to be an attractive destination for tourists. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Cardinal Tagle captured the Filipinos’ sentiments


PHOTO: Pope Francis, right, lifts the host beside Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, as he officiates a mass with clergy and religious at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) MANILA, Philippines –“We are afflicted every possible way, but we are not crushed.” This was how Manila Archbishop Antonio Luis Cardinal Tagle described Filipinos to Pope Francis during the Mass at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila on Monday. PHOTO & CAPTION COURTESY OF THE INQUIRER  ---If there’s anyone who truly said what many Filipinos wanted to tell the Pope, it was His Eminence Cardinal Luis Tagle. Everyone who heard the welcome speech of the Cardinal after the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at the newly renovated Manila Cathedral could not help but be inspired and encouraged, with many admitting they got teary eyed and felt goose bumps. The words of the Cardinal perfectly articulated the character and sentiment of each and every Filipino. It hit the right note, particularly with the poor, the downtrodden, and the ones trying to make sense of their upturned lives due to the calamities and misfortunes with which they have been afflicted – they will rise above any adversity because their hearts are filled with song, and their spirits are strengthened by their faith. READ FULL COMMENTARY By Babe Romualdez ...


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Lack of infrastructure limits tourism growth

MANILA, IANUARY 17, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Louella D. Desiderio - Hotel developers and operators are expected to benefit from the expected growth in the Philippine tourism industry over the next decade, but challenges remain in terms of the much-needed infrastructure for an additional influx of tourists, according to a hospitality branding expert.

James Stuart, managing partner of Asia’s branding company for hospitality The Brand Co. and author of the book “Hotel Brand Bites” which is focused on hospital brand management, said in an email that a significant increase in the number and type of tourism properties being opened in the Philippines this year and beyond is expected as the country is seen to be an attractive destination for tourists.

“It is clear that the Philippines is going to be one of the big tourism growth stories in Asia – in fact worldwide – over the next decade.

A beautiful environment of over 7,000 islands, some of the friendliest, happiest people in the world and a generally English speaking population. Plus, at the moment, a country that in the main has been left in its wild, natural state,” he said.


NEDA chief: GDP growth still about the poor----A man cooks his food along a sidewalk in Tondo district, Manila. EDD GUMBAN/FILE PHOTO

While such backdrop offers opportunities for hotel developers and operators, infrastructure is seen as a limiting factor.

Stuart noted that much of the infrastructure needed to provide additional tourists with a positive impression of the Philippines is still in the making.

Even as there are improvements in terms of new roads and airports being built and new hotel brands being developed, there are concerns on whether the growth of supporting infrastructure could keep up with the tourism boom.

“So, I think hotel owners and operators need to put pressure on national and local governments to make infrastructure improvements a priority,” Stuart said.


Roadwork in Manila Bloomberg News

To take advantage of the expected tourism growth here, he said hotel developers and other firms engaged in the hospitality business would have to work not just on brand building efforts, but also on being distinctly relevant to guests.

“Hotel developers and operators can take advantage of this growth…by conceiving unique, relevant experiences that champion what is distinctively local,” he said.

All stakeholders, he added, have to work together to promote the development of the tourism industry.

“Tourism must be looked at and developed as a cohesive whole, from the manner in which the country is positioned (‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’) right down to the manner in which local environments are being developed and sustained for the benefit of future generations. If everyone pursues their own personal agendas in isolation of the bigger picture, it might create some short-term individual gain, but it won’t be good for the country as a whole long-term,” he said.


FROM PHILSTAR

Cardinal Tagle captured the Filipinos’ sentiments BABE’S EYE VIEW By Babe Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 18, 2015 - 12:00am 1 39 googleplus1 9


By Babe Romualdez

If there’s anyone who truly said what many Filipinos wanted to tell the Pope, it was His Eminence Cardinal Luis Tagle. Everyone who heard the welcome speech of the Cardinal after the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at the newly renovated Manila Cathedral could not help but be inspired and encouraged, with many admitting they got teary eyed and felt goose bumps. The words of the Cardinal perfectly articulated the character and sentiment of each and every Filipino. It hit the right note, particularly with the poor, the downtrodden, and the ones trying to make sense of their upturned lives due to the calamities and misfortunes with which they have been afflicted – they will rise above any adversity because their hearts are filled with song, and their spirits are strengthened by their faith.

“Our melodies make our spirits soar above the tragedies of life. Our faith makes us stand up again and again after deadly fires, earthquakes, typhoons and wars,” Cardinal Tagle said, recalling the words of fellow Jesuit priest and historian Fr. Horacio de la Costa who said that the Filipino has two treasures: his music and his faith.

Vatican observers admitted that they were impressed by the message of the Filipino prelate because it was heartwarming and uplifting. His words resonated because it was delivered with such fervent joy, communicating the compassion and the deep love that Christ Jesus has for this “blessed land of untiring hope.”

It was the kind of inspiring message that the President as the leader of this nation should have delivered.

Some of those present told me they found themselves cringing at the president’s speech during the general audience with the Pope in Malacañang because it focused more about himself.

Many also found it ironic that the president would acknowledge the help of the Church in bringing down the Marcos dictatorship which resulted in the ascension of his late mother to the presidency, but in almost the same breath would castigate the local clergy for being critical of his administration and accusing them of being silent during his predecessor’s term.

The president’s remark that he would have expected the church to be his “natural ally” also did not sit well with people who said the swipe against former president Arroyo was totally out of place.

As one Jesuit priest remarked, the president’s message was totally inappropriate, and not the right occasion to say them. This was probably why many were comforted by the gracious words of Cardinal Tagle, whose charismatic personality, astute intellect and prudence impressed many who watched his recent interview with CNN’s veteran journalist Christiane Amanpour prior to Pope Francis’ arrival.

Asked about the stand of the Church with regard to the Charlie Hebdo shooting that has sparked renewed debate on freedom of the press vis-à-vis respect for religion, the youthful looking church leader acknowledged diversity and differences but urged people not to use such differences as an excuse to be disrespectful to the point of desecrating human life.

“We also do not want to jump to the conclusion that these acts are always associated with the religion called Islam,” he replied to Amanpour’s question about the terrorist group al-Qaeda that has claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo killings, and that the Pope might be a likely target of extremists affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS.

Tagle’s remarks echoed the sentiments of the Pope, who said free speech has its limits. The pontiff himself is also not averse to diversity and is known for adopting a non-judgmental attitude when it comes to controversial issues facing the church.

In fact, CNN’s Vatican analyst and Boston Globe associate editor John Allen Jr., who was also a longtime correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, dubbed Cardinal Tagle as “the Asian Pope Francis,” drawing parallelisms between the Pope and the Cardinal.


PHOTO COURTESY OF CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Tagle is well loved for his gentleness, compassion and humility – the same traits that have endeared Pope Francis to millions including the non-Catholic. The youthful looking prelate is known for his simplicity and humble lifestyle, riding the jeepney or even the tricycle to visit the faithful, and feeding beggars outside the Manila Cathedral.

“He rejects ostentation in dress and manner, preferring to be called by his nickname ‘Chito’ rather than formal titles. He emphasizes the need for the Church to listen as much as it talks, and he exudes a sort of slow-burn charisma that doesn’t smack you in the face so much as it gradually envelopes you. Today, there is an easier way to say all that: He’s the Asian Pope Francis,” Allen wrote.

As a matter of fact, the 57-year-old Cardinal’s name became prominently mentioned as a possible successor to Pope Benedict XVI (who retired in February 2013), making the hearts of Filipinos soar with pride at the thought that one of their own could someday be the leader of the 1.2 billion strong Catholic faith. It was also Pope Benedict himself who appointed Tagle as Archbishop of Manila in 2011, then made him a cardinal a year later. That he is a close friend to the current Pope is evident at the warm greeting each accorded to the other.

Like the Pope, Cardinal Tagle is also attuned to the times, utilizing technology to reach out to believers and connect with the youth through social media.

As Huffington Post noted, the “singing” Filipino Cardinal has a “personal touch, presence or aura that allows him to connect with the young and elderly, the rich and the poor” – the very same traits that make Pope Francis truly a “people’s pope.”


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