PH carves its role in global tourism

Published April 24, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Manila Bulletin

The just concluded three-day World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) meeting held in Manila has highlighted the Philippines, not just as a tourism destination, but as a prime mover in this industry globally.

The 21st WTTC Global Summit, the first global event staged in the country since the pandemic, was an initial salvo to a world reopening after more than two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Come to think of it, the WTTC is considered as one of the most influential tourism events worldwide. This year’s WTTC hosted 1,200 in-person attendees, including 200 media and 1,000 delegates from various countries, and 30 government officials. For the virtual platform, the summit boasts of 10,000 attendees.

The Virtual Platform will continue to be promoted for a month after the Summit finishes so more people can view it.

It is an annual gathering of the entire spectrum of the industry, including airlines and airports, hotels and hospitality groups, tour operators and retail travel agents, online distributors, cruise lines, investment companies, insurance groups, and the technology industry.

Such mileage will overshadow the country’s competitors in a travel-hungry world.

WTTC President and Chief Executive Officer Julia Simpson lauded the leadership of Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat for her continuous efforts to revitalize the tourism industry of the Philippines, which has been steadily recovering in spite of the ongoing global health concern.

Simpson spiced it up with WTTC forecasts of an average annual growth rate of 6.7 percent over the next 10 years, exceeding the expected country’s overall economy average growth rate of just 5.6 percent.
WTTC also forecasts that tourism employment will grow annually by an average of 3.0 percent over the next 10 years, generating 2.9 million new jobs, accounting for 21.5 percent of all jobs in the Philippines.

Credit goes to Romulo-Puyat, the country’s tourism poster girl, who played her role to the hilt. The proactive secretary is one of the best choices, if not the best, the country has had to lead the tourism sector.

As the Philippines was among the first countries to open its borders to foreign tourists, given its minimal-risk Covid status, the government has put in place guidelines that will ensure the safety of guests, tourism workers, and the community.

At the world stage, Secretary Romulo-Puyat raised the bar when she vowed to pursue advocacies for responsible tourism, towards a greener environment. Indeed, every tourist must realize the full economic and social impact of travel and tourism.

“Our destinations must not be allowed to go back to the old unsustainable ways of the past. Instead, we must move forward guided by strategic and evidence-based planning, and aimed towards building further resilience,” Romulo-Puyat stressed.

As tourists of the world are gratified, it is also everyone’s role to stand united to help secure the future of our planet through responsible tourism. Sustainability is not just a word, it is a call to action to protect the environment if one has to continue enjoying its company.

The tourism sector has demonstrated its commitment to reshaping the industry for the benefit of all, rebalancing its old “business comes first” orientation to one that now places equity, accountability, and social responsibility as its priorities. And the Philippines will there at the forefront.