MANILA — Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco urged business leaders in the United States on Thursday to invest in the Philippines' revitalizing tourism sector, which has been recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) in New York City, Frasco touted the Philippines' readiness as a tourism destination, and the "critical role" the sector plays in the country's economy.
“The President has clearly identified tourism as a major tool for the economic resurgence of the Philippines, stating that it can be the economic driver upon which we herald the Filipino Brand and at the same time create economic opportunity and livelihood all over the country,” Frasco said in her opening statement.
She also outlined the Department of Tourism's 7-point agenda and 3 strategies for tourism development, which center on connectivity, convenience, and equality.
She also underscored DOT's plans to open tourist service areas nationwide, with 3 in Luzon, 5 in Visayas, and 2 Mindanao.
"I'm very pleased to inform you that in the first week of October, under the directive of the President, we are breaking ground on no less than 10 tourist rest areas across the Philippines... These tourist rest areas will have clean and decent restrooms for our tourists, a lounge for them to rest in, a complete information on tourist destinations, as well as pasalubong centers for them to be able to purchase local products and delicacies," Frasco said.
Also among the DOT's plans are partnerships with different government agencies to ensure the safety and security of tourists and to establish Wi-Fi connections in some of the country's top destinations.
She also outlined the department's plans to set up an "improved" digital information platform for tourists, as well as a tourist assistance call center.
In his keynote speech, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also touched on the tourism sector's efforts to revitalize itself and "promote the Filipino brand," as well as the safe reopening of tourist destinations for domestic and foreign tourism.
“We will also reinvigorate the tourism sector by investing in travel infrastructure and the promotion of the Filipino brand. With the Department of Tourism leading our efforts to revitalize both domestic and foreign tourism, we will ensure the safe reopening of tourist destinations and develop the Philippines’ yet to be discovered attractions,” he said.
The PEB was part of Marcos' 4-day working visit to the United States, where he spoke at the 77th United Nations General Assembly and also met with world leaders including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Marcos also met with business leaders in the United States, the New York Stock Exchange, and ranking officials of the World Bank.