Foreign chambers back tourism plan

Foreign businessmen joined tourism industry leaders in expressing support for Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim.

Austen Chamberlain, president of the American Chamber of Commerce, said his group was pleased with the adoption of open skies and other policy reforms recommended by foreign chambers in developing the sector in the Philippines.

He cited the program “Arangkada 2011 Philippines, a Business Perspective,” a project of the Joint Foreign Chambers composed of the AmCham, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, European Chamber of Commerce, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Korean Chamber of Commerce, and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters.

The open skies and policy reforms are contained in the report as headline recommendations that seek to improve international connectivity, develop and implement national and destination masterplans, reduce costs of doing business and enhance mobility for travel and tourism enterprises and tourists.

The reforms are part of the National Tourism Development Plan which is being finalized in time for presentation to President Benigno Aquino by the end of July.

The NTDP is the tourism roadmap of Lim that shows how he and the department plans to achieve the targets of 3.7 million international arrivals for 2011 and 6.3 million foreign visitors and 32 million domestic travelers generating P1.3 trillion in expenditure and 5.16 million jobs by 2016.

“That is a tall order. And, if anyone can lead us towards such a great accomplishment as an industry and as a nation—it is no less than Bertie Lim and President Aquino,” said Aileen Clemente, president of Rajah Travel Corp. and president of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association.

Clemente assured Lim of the support of the 450-member strong PTAA and advised the tourism chief to work on getting the National Tourism Development Plan and the country brand project approved by President Aquino once completed.

“Secretary Lim should not worry about criticisms coming from those outside of our industry since those who are really involved in tourism in this country and have been in the industry for decades know that what he is doing is good for the country and good for tourism,” Clemente said.

original source: Manila Standard Today