Editorial: Tourism Framework for sustainable growth

The Philippine tourism sector is going ''beyond beach vacations'' in the 2011-2016 National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP). The government is promoting other tourism products and services such as cultural, leisure and entertainment, events, health and wellness, retirement, nautical sports, and education tourism. The NTDP is synchronized with the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan, where tourism has been identified as a priority sector.

The NTPD concern an investment of P265 billion until 2016 in 20 destination clusters, with nine as top priority, namely, Central Visayas, Metro Manila, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Romblon, and Quezon provinces), Central Luzon, Palawan, Western Visayas, Davao Gulf, Northern Mindanao, Bicol, and Laoag-Vigan. The largest chunk of investment is going to infrastructure.

Three Department of Tourism (DOT) strategies to attain the goal of increased tourist arrivals are: Developing and marketing competitive tourist products and destinations; improving market access, connectivity, and destination infrastructure; and improving institutional governance and human resources. DOT is targeting 10 million foreign visitors and 56 million domestic travelers by 2016. Top sources of travelers to the Philippines are South Korea, the United States of America, Japan, and China. Strategic markets are Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, and Canada, while opportunity markets include Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Germany.

DOT works hand in hand with various national agencies, local government units, and the private sector in this program. Local governments are urged to develop their areas and set up tourist facilities. The private sector is asked to pour more investments. The strategy focuses on 78 priority tourism areas for massive development in four years. The NTDP is expected to create jobs for 6.8 million poor Filipinos in tourism destinations.

We congratulate the Department of Tourism, headed by Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. and Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions Daniel G. Corpuz, other Officers and Personnel, for setting in place interventions to boost the tourism sector toward attaining the goal of sustainable and inclusive growth for the Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!