Tourism overdrive pushed

December 02, 2019

The call is timely as the country takes global center stage in hosting this year’s Southeast Asian Games.

All eyes are glued to this archipelago of more than 7,000 islands as the games go into high gear this week.

And Tourism authorities should waste no time in mobilizing all resources at their command to maximize such global exposure in promoting visitor arrival.

Athletes, foreign sports officials, other dignitaries, members of international media, and sports fans would surely be staying long after all the games have concluded, the last medal awarded, and the closing ceremonies held.

And this is the perfect time to make an impressive tourism pitch that would convince them to come back and invite families, friends, and colleagues to find out fort themselves why ‘it is more fun in the Philippines”.

And so we agree with and support Sen. Nancy Binay in pushing for an appointment of a tourism officer in major tourist destinations nationwide.

Binay, who introduced Senate Bill No. 1124, otherwise known as the Act Amending Sections 443, 454 and 463 of the Local Government Code of 1991, said the presence of tourism officer in major destinations would ensure sustainable tourism development in the area and boost tourism-related investments.

She noted that Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the "Local Government Code of 1991" does not include permanent positions for tourism officers in its exclusive list of officers for every local government unit.

According to the lady lawmaker, Section 42 of Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009, mandates every province, city or municipality where tourism is a significant industry to appoint a permanent tourism officer.

"Without a specific amendatory clause in The Tourism Act of 2009, the LGUs fail to establish permanent positions for tourism officers," she said, adding that the measure seeks to address the matter by amending pertinent provisions of RA 7160.

The senator stressed the contributions of the tourism industry in the country's economy.

Binay said the tourism industry yielded P2.2 trillion or 12.7 percent to the country's Gross Domestic Product  in 2018.

"These figures are still expected to rise and create a remarkable quantity of employment opportunities. Thus, it calls for the need to fortify the tourism safeguards provided by RA 9593," she said.

The bill has already been referred last November 5 to the Senate committee on local government chaired by Sen. Francis "Tol" Tolentino.

And since tourism promotion is a patriot act, the spirits of voluntarism must also be strongly promoted.

And nowhere is such volunteer spirit more pervasive than in Subic Bay Freeport.

Such mindset of selfless service must be propagated throughout the nation to complement the tourism promotion drive.

As the Subic Bay Freeport Zone commemorates its 27th founding anniversary, Sen. Richard J. Gordon commended the volunteers for the successful creation of the Freeport from the ashes of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and the impending economic disaster brought about by the departure of the American military from Subic Bay.

Gordon said the people were the key that made Subic what it is today - the framework for bases conversion in the country and one of the best examples of bases conversion ventures in the world, as international media described it shortly after its creation.