BAGUIO CITY – Department of Tourism Secretary Maria Franscisco shares her sentiments to the vibrant landscapes, rich heritage and diversity in culture of North Luzon regions stating, “You are the gatekeepers of Philippine identity.” This was highlighted during the opening ceremony of the recently concluded three-day leg of North Luzon Travel Expo from November 25 to 27 held at Camp John Hay.
“This three-day extravaganza reflects our commitment to rebuilding and revitalizing the tourism industry,” said Francisco as she shared her gratitude to see the resilience of Luzon’s tourism sector pointing out the diverse offerings of the region.
She then gave her gratitude to the government officials for catering the progress of the said event which also contributed to the tourism portfolio of the President.
“Sa tourismo may trabaho. Sa tourismo may asenso,” as she mentioned about pushing for full reopening of tourism and ensuring the benefits across the country. She gave an exclamation on the initiatives to elevate the Philippine status of president’s goal of becoming Asia’s tourism powerhouse.
The national development plan coins on diversifying tourism offering and sustainability both environmental and maintaining tourism interest on the various attractions, placing equal emphasis on other tourism facets of the country that is yet to be discovered, “We have not yet fully told the Filipino story,” Fransisco stated.
She also shared the vibrant tourism landscape of the region with a primary goal to empower local stakeholders from community based enterprises, equipping them to be ambassadors of tourism attractions. Additionally, she gave emphasis on providing training, funding, and platforms to enhance tourism fostering a sustainable and resilient tourism environment. Through strategic marketing and regional collaboration, they look forward to a region as a hotspot of natural beauty and cultural abundance.
Through these initiatives, they hope to highlight the critical role that the international tourist network plays in establishing Northern Luzon as a center for cooperation and information sharing. Through the activity, the tourism community’s bonds are strengthened and common objectives are promoted, ensuring the region’s continued success as a top vacation destination for both domestic and foreign tourists.
Other activities of the event such as art in the Park, fashion parade, music festival familiarization allows regional directors to explore other regions.
Furthermore, with the president’s goal of emphasizing tourism in his development program, the sector has become one of the economy’s strongest pillars.
“We continue to drive the world’s attention towards our beaches, our dive sites, our cultural offerings, our gastronomical offerings, and other tourism products that make us confidently say we love the Philippines, ” Francisco emphasized.
She also shared information based on the national economic managers saying tourism is the second top highest driver for economic growth. Travel has already contributed 440 billion pesos to the national economy, even though the year is not yet over. With 4.8 million foreign arrivals by the end of this year, they are currently 99% of the way towards their target.
Accomplishments for merely a year. Over 158 km of roads rehabilitated, 5 cruise terminals, looking forward to the privatization of various airports, flight portfolios of domestic and major international gateways gradually recover, tourist resting areas in Baguio looking for rest areas.
Still the tourism sector experiences challenges in digitization, infrastructure, connectivity, and other trials since the pandemic happened, Francisco honestly shared.
She also expressed her gratitude for the potential of the Philippines in Asia and the globe, after 24 years the Philippines was elected as Vice President of the United Nations’ World Tourism organization and hailed as chairman of the commission on East Asia and the host of the UNWTO’s next joint commission meeting that will be held in Cebu.
The North Luzon Travel Expo aims to bring attention to offerings of the region, bringing regional directors and stakeholders nationwide for them become aware of tourism products and services for them to share on their own region. By Adrian Mas