THE Department of Tourism (DOT) has drawn up new tourism circuits that will focus on faith, food and fitness to boost domestic tourism.
DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, in a virtual Tourism Summit, said the tourism department is developing local destinations in “an inclusive and sustainable manner.”
“We must first convince potential tourists that domestic travel can be safe and convenient even during a pandemic,” Puyat said during the Cebu Business Month 2021 Tourism Summit on Thursday, June 24, 2021.
The DOT said “it will develop and/or improve the tour quality and experience in the priority tourism circuits that match market preferences for safe travels in open spaces/outdoors, nature-based, curated, sensorial, and inclusive products.”
In 2019, the DOT recorded 110 million domestic trips.
According to Puyat, the DOT has helped craft products that are now in varying stages of implementation or planning in Central Visayas.
These are the Kulinarya sa Norte Culinary Tour, which offers guests an immersive experience with food, nature and culture; food mapping of northwest Cebu and Bohol for the development of the food tourism circuit; and “Panaw sa Pagtuo: Balaanong Bahandi sa Central Visayas,” a pilgrimage tour of the region’s historic churches.
A Metro Cebu Marian pilgrimage tour and the development and creation of a regional meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition network and weddings in Bohol are also in the works.
Other upcoming projects and activities include Farm, Fork and Fitness; A Mountain to Sea Circuit to Wellness; Cultural Tourism: Filipino Martial Arts Heritage Caravan; Regional Dive Development Program which includes dives and visits in Moalboal, Panglao, Malapascua, Dauin, Lapu-Lapu City, Alegria, Samboan and Santander; Central Visayas ecotourism loop in the nine protected areas in the region; and alfresco taste and tour circuits.
Puyat also bared that the DOT will develop “green corridors” as a strategy to reopen borders utilizing more gateway airports like Clark, Cebu, Davao, Bohol, Puerto Princesa, among others, for direct flights.
The lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have battered the tourism industry in terms of revenue and employment.
The country’s tourism sector has contributed only 5.4 percent to the gross domestic product in 2020, according to the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The tourism direct gross value added to the Philippine economy amounted to P973.31 billion in 2020, which is 61.2 percent lower compared to its P2.51 trillion contribution in 2019.
According to the PSA, all forms of tourism expenditures posted downturns in 2020.
Inbound tourism expenditure declined 77.9 percent, while domestic tourism expenditure was down by 82.3 percent and outbound tourism expenditure dropped by 73.2 percent.
Employment in tourism also declined by 18.1 percent.
Employment in tourism characteristic industries was estimated at 4.68 million in 2020 compared with 5.72 million in 2019. (JOB WITH KOC)