P555 BILLION  WORTH OF INVESTMENT:  TOURISTS  FLOCK  TO  RP  IN  2009 
 

[PHOTO AT LEFT - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo waves to the crowd as she leads the inaugural drive-thru of the Amburayan Bridge Wednesday (Dec. 30) at Sudipen, La Union. Also in photo are (from left) Ilocos Sur Governor Deogracias Victor Savellano, Japan Ambassador Makoto Katsura, Ilocos Sur 2nd District Rep. Eric Singson, La Union Governor Manuel Ortega, and Deputy National Security Adviser Luis Chavit Singson. (Benjamin S. Basug JR. / OPS-NIB Photo)]

MANILA, JANUARY 3, 2010 (MALACA—ANG) Domestic tourism also increased, along with foreign tourism due in part to the efforts of the government in partnership with the private sector to provide tourism infrastructure and facilities.

P555 BILLION WORTH OF INVESTMENT

From 2004 to August this year, P555 billion worth of investment went to the development of transportation, tourism eco-zones, accommodation and other related facilities. It is these investments that have enabled the country to increase its share in the Southeast Asian tourism industry.

Of course, the construction of roads, bridges, airports, and seaports, which falls under the Presidentís Super Regions Economic Strategy, was undertaken to spur and sustain growth primarily in industry and agriculture, but the tourism sector has benefited immensely from the ambitious infrastructure development program.

The liberalization of the airline industry has resulted in the opening of air routes to and from major tourist markets, including Incheon, Busan, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Kaohsiung.

AGGRESSIVE PROMOTION

While national government created the infrastructure, the Department of Tourism escalated its tourism investment promotions, encouraging establishments to build more hotels and other facilities. A variety of financing schemes and a stronger pitch for tourism investments facilitated the building of new hotels and other facilities in favorite destinations and in up-and-coming tourist attractions.

With the rise in the number of tourist arrivals comes an increase in job opportunities. Employment in tourism and related industries accounts for almost 10 percent of total employment. The industry directly employs more than three million Filipinos now, up from one million it did in 2001.The industry has merely doubled but it has created three times the number of jobs.

TOURISM ACT CONSOLIDATES GAINS

The National Tourism Act of 2009 seeks to achieve what President Arroyo has long dreamed of since Day One of her presidency: to make the tourism industry an engine of growth.

Otherwise known as Republic Act (RA) 9593, the Act is designed to strengthen the strategic partnership between the government and the private sector.

Signed into law by the President in May, the Act reorganizes the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation (PCVC) into the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), a corporate body responsible for the marketing and promotion of the country as a global tourism destination by highlighting its tourism products and services.

It also reorganizes the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) into the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), a body corporate mandated to designate, regulate and supervise tourism enterprise zones (TEZs) as well as develop, manage and supervise tourism projects in the country.

Meanwhile, the Duty Free Philippines (DFP) will become the Duty Free Philippines Corporation (DFPC), a body corporate mandated to operate the duty and tax-free merchandising system in the country.

The Act provides that the TPB and TIEZA will each have a capitalization of P250 million to be subscribed by the national government. It establishes "tourism enterprise zones" in strategic areas, including Cebu, Davao, Bohol, Laguna, Cavite, Boracay, Palawan and Iloilo, to lure foreign investors and tourists to visit places rich in history and culture.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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