Tour operators bank on tourism infra

Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), one of the largest associations of registered operators in the country, recently expressed confidence on the new National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2016-2022 to bring the much needed boost in tourism infrastructure and transportation.

Citing the revitalized efforts of the Duterte administration to speed up infrastructure projects, PHILTOA president Cesar Cruz says he hopes the new NTDP will accomplish what the previous administration "failed to accomplish in the previous plan, which is basically infrastructure."

The industry leader further adds that "there is a difference between the last government from this government. It might not always be the right one but I think the objective is there and it has always been done with speed. So that is what we are hoping for."

Cruz is also optimistic of Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo's plan "to shape the industry."

"She said the NTDP is not the DOT's plan alone, but should also be sustained by the tourism sector as well," he added. According to Cruz, Secretary Teo, who was then the President of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (NAITAS) was part of the group that drafted the tourism agenda for the new administration.

"A huge part of the NTDP 2016-2022 is dominated by the requirements to meet the needed program of improving transportation networks, primarily through the expansion of airports, seaports, and roads," DOT Assistant Secretary Malou Japson, who represented Tourism Secretary Teo, said in response to PHILTOA's concerns.

The Assistant Secretary, however, said the NTDP could only work with the private sector support in place. "Our plan is to attract more tourism investments from the private sector primarily in modernizing and expanding our existing air fleets and building accommodation supply across all categories," she added, in reference to the NTDP's strategic direction towards improving tourism competitiveness and sustainable growth.

PHILTOA's 4th general membership meeting held last Friday gathered over a hundred of its members in Caliraya Resort Club, Lumban, Laguna, to discuss the future of Philippine tourism. With its theme, "breaking barriers," the group tackled issues on transportation and infrastructure development, government policy regarding visa, investments, capacity building, tourism manpower, among others.

Source: Philippine Information Agency