DoT hosts ASEAN tourism confab on Sept. 4

Published August 28, 2020, 4:35 PM

by Hanah Tabios

To enable leaders to come up with a more coordinated approach to combat the wrath of the ongoing global health crisis, the Department of Tourism (DoT) will host the 3rd International Conference on ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals on Sept. 4.

With the theme “Embracing the New Normal in Tourism,” the conference will gather DoT counterparts in all the ASEAN member nations to raise the awareness of tourism stakeholders on the ASEAN mutual recognition arrangement on tourism professionals.

Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said this will also serve as a platform to exchange best practices on COVID-19 response and recovery for tourism professionals and equip them to the new normal.

“As tourism is a cross border industry, cooperation and mutual agreement among nations will be vital to the resumptions of international travel,” Puyat said.

The DoT had earlier said that the department is targeting to adopt the short-haul approach in the recovery of the industry, in which they will encourage first travelers from the ASEAN market to visit the country once quarantine measures have been eased and leisure travel will be finally permitted.

The DoT has proposed the creation of travel bubbles in which a number of destinations around the country with low risk community quarantine classifications can start taking in guests from countries where coronavirus cases have been contained.

“We are studying the feasibility of these areas as travel destinations for travelers from countries where the coronavirus has been contained. Such a bubble would allow the members of the group to rekindle trade ties and kickstart their tourism related sectors,” Puyat said.

The DoT is ramping up its efforts for the recovery of domestic tourism in the country that is now deemed at a critical juncture.

With or without the pandemic, local travelers are the driving force of the tourism’s growth and development. In 2019, 10.8 percent of the 12.7 Gross Domestic Product share of tourism was attributed to domestic tourism.

Puyat said restarting domestic tourism carefully and in phases, while implementing and institutionalizing the new health protocols, will also gradually bring back jobs.

“There will be tougher days ahead but with everyone willing to work, our common goal is the recovery of the Philippine tourism industry,” the Tourism chief said.