THE incoming Tourism Secretary said she plans to develop domestic tourism in order not to be left vulnerable to disruptions in international travel, while playing up untapped strengths in food and crafts and continuing to promote areas of outstanding beauty, in a so-called “multi-dimensional” approach to promoting the Philippines as a destination.
Tourism Secretary-designate Maria Esperanza Christina G. Frasco said in a television interview on Tuesday that such an approach would “capitalize not only on the beauty of our natural resources, but also on the wealth of talent of our people as well as their products, including food, clothing, and other items that could be marketable as well both to local and foreign tourists.”
“What the pandemic has also taught us, (in the wake of) restrictions on travel from abroad, is that it is very important to capitalize on domestic tourism and not be solely dependent on foreign tourism alone. The effort should be comprehensive to include both domestic tourism and foreign tourism. Especially now with the further relaxation of the requirements for entry into the Philippines,” she added.
Ms. Frasco said investment in tourism infrastructure is needed to improve the access to various destinations.
She called for “investing heavily in infrastructure to improve connectivity and access to our tourist sites. So, that means coordination closely with relevant government agencies for the improvement of roads, bridges, access to seaports, airports, as well as modes of public transportation,” Ms. Frasco said.
Ms. Frasco said she plans to make use of digitalization and online platforms to boost underpromoted destinations.
“Providing our lesser-known destinations with access through digitalization and through the introduction of online platforms is also very important,” Ms. Frasco said.
“What the pandemic has taught us is that you can actually continue to market your products… by way of mobile applications, through online platforms notwithstanding the restrictions of physical contact,” she added.
Ms. Frasco said she considers Mindanao to be capable of becoming a major driver of growth, adding that the south has not been given “equal opportunity” in terms of tourism development.
“Mindanao in general is a very, very beautiful part of our country that is endowed with natural beauty. However, due to challenges (like law and order) in certain areas, the potential of the region, perhaps, has not been fully harnessed,” Ms. Frasco said.
On May 30, Rose Beatrix Cruz-Angeles, the press secretary nominee of President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., announced that Ms. Frasco will be appointed to head the Tourism department.
Ms. Frasco is currently the spokesperson of Vice-President-elect Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio, and was recently re-elected as the mayor of Liloan town in Cebu province. She is also the daughter of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave