DOT pushes for connectivity in 94 tourist destinations 

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has is pushing for the improvement in connectivity in at least 94 key tourist destinations in the country.

During the plenary session on economic transformation at the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 forum Monday, Jan. 30, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco noted of the DOT's steadfast efforts to improve enabling mechanisms for tourism development in the Philippines, outside of its "traditional mandate”.

According to the tourism chief, one of this is a connectivity project in partnership with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

The partnership with DICT calls for the development of a Tourist Lifecycle App that will digitalize the tourism sector in the country. The Tourist Lifecycle App aims to “provide tourists connectivity in each and every single aspect of their journey, from booking airline, to the hotel, transport services, as well as all other related services.”

In the effort to equalize tourism promotions across the country, Frasco said that the DOT's offices in the country's 16 regions would pursue close coordination with local government units (LGUs), particularly on the aspect of identifying the sectors needing the most assistance in terms of tourism development.

In terms of the tourism industry's contribution to the promotion of human and social development, Frasco also bared the DOT's initiatives to harness the strength of the Filipino brand of hospitality and the DOT's goal of training 100,000 Filipino tourism workers across the country in the “Filipino Brand of Service Excellence”.

The idea is to harness the strength of Filipinos in terms of hospitality to become the Center for Hospitality Excellence in Asia and the world. “We recognize the necessity of human capital development and the necessity of providing social protections upon our tourism workers,” she explained.

Also in close cooperation with LGUs, the DOT also seeks to introduce a Tourist Assistance Call Center and a Tourist Concierge to ensure a positive experience for tourists throughout their stay, as well as strengthen the safety and security of tourists through an upcoming tripartite agreement with the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Further, the Tourism Chief also shared on the DOT's ongoing conduct of due diligence in tourist destinations to pinpoint areas needing assistance in increasing the accessibility of emergency services and improvement in health facilities.

Expressing her optimism in the DOT's attainment of its programs and plans for the industry, Frasco echoed the President's call for a strengthened cooperation between local and national government, and boosting the partnership between government and private sector.

"We have a lot of programs and plans in place for the year to come. And we are hopeful that with the partnership of our international partners, in person of the diplomatic community, as well as our private sector, and most especially our local government units, we would be able to give the Philippines a fighting chance at not only reclaiming its position pre-pandemic, but more importantly, into transforming the Philippines into a tourism powerhouse in Asia," Frasco said.

The PDP 2023-2028 serves as the national government’s overall guide in development planning for six years. The plan reflects the government’s socioeconomic policies, strategies, and programs in support of and consistent with the socioeconomic agenda of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.