Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Tourism Act of 2009 enhances the Philippines' tourism competitiveness


LAPU-LAPU CITY (PND) --- The Philippines’ tourism industry can be more globally competitive with the signing into law today of the National Tourism Act of 2009 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the “One Visayas Summit on Climate Change” at the Imperial Palace here.

The Tourism Act of 2009 or Republic Act (RA) 9593 declares it a national policy for tourism to be one of the country’s engines of investment and employment, and of growth and national development.

The President noted during the one-on-one regional interview that the signing of the tourism statute in Cebu is appropriate at this time, as the province is the “number one international destination in Asia” while the Visayas region is the country’s tourism center.

RA 9593 declares "a national policy for tourism as an engine of investment, employment, growth and national development, and strengthens the Department of Tourism (DOT) and its attached agencies to effectively and efficiently implement that policy, and appropriates funds therefore."

With the new law, the DOT has been “given a bigger jet engine so we can climb up. It provides us more capability and resources to make our tourism industry very globally competitive” as the law allows the setting up of a system of accreditation, standards-setting and classification to make the tourism industry globally competitive, said Tourism Secretary Ace Durano.

The Act declares that tourism is an "indispensable element of the national economy and an industry of national interest and importance, which must be harnessed as an engine of socio-economic growth and cultural affirmation to generate investment, foreign exchange and employment, and to continue to mold an enhanced sense of national pride for all Filipinos."

The new law empowers the DOT to strengthen the different agencies attached to it in order to more efficiently and effectively coordinate the functions and resources of government for tourism promotions and development programs, as well as eliminate overlaps of functions.

The Act also reorganizes the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation (PCVC) into the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), a body corporate responsible for the marketing and promotion of the Philippines 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.

The Act also 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.

Thus, it will spur the creation of jobs and open additional channels for the infusion of much-needed investments as well as give the people the power to pull themselves out of the economic recession.

The new law also provides TPB funding from investment earnings of the Tourism Promotions Trust; appropriation from the national government of not less than P500 million annually for at least five years from the time of its constitution; 70 percent of the 50-percent net income of the DFPC accruing to the DOT; and at least 25 percent of the national government share remitted by international airports and seaports to the National Treasury.

On the other hand, the funding for TIEZA will come from 50 percent of travel tax collections; a reasonable share from the collections of the Office of Tourism Resource Generation; income from projects managed by the TIEZA; and subsidies or grants from local and foreign sources.

Meanwhile, the DFPC will have a capitalization of P500 million, and funding for its operations will be sourced from its internally generated income and other receipts.

"The law primarily promotes the tourism industry through the development and integration of tourism concepts, regulates standards for the operation of the tourism industry and establishes a tourism infrastructure program," said Sen. Richard Gordon, principal author of the measure.

"With the faithful implementation of this measure, the nation can have a better institution to regulate and promote tourism and install the necessary infrastructures to make our country truly world-class," he added.

The DOT will lead the establishment of a tourism infrastructure program and coordinate with other agencies to identify vital access roads, airports, seaports and other infrastructure requirement in identified tourism areas, Gordon added.

1 comment:

  1. Hi I run a tourism site in Phuket Thailand www.thephuketinsider.com and find this an interesting act, its good to see the Philippines addressing tourism as an important issue and certainly leads a good example for countries like Thailand to view the importance of such an initiative. Great to see the Philippines getting the recognition thats long overdue.