CEBU, Philippines - A hotel executive said that the Philippines should continue capitalizing on tourism as one of its economic growth drivers but recommended areas of improvement for the country to work on.
Johannes Hauri, general manager of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu and president of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC), said that tourism as the third largest industry in the world should be the country’s investment in the future.
Based on the World Tourism Organization figures, 7 million people travel daily, 70 million travel within their own borders and 983 million are recorded for international arrivals.
WTO reported that the tourism industry earns $1 trillion per annum and employs 10% of the labor force.
“Tourism allows regions and localities to look good, feel good and create good. But are we prepared to compete and deliver? The future looks bright. The opportunity is ours,” Hauri stated.
As ambassadors of the Philippine culture, he said that Filipinos have an advantage in attending to the tourists. They serve as unofficial diplomats of their nations with their hospitality, friendliness and resilience.
He also said that the government, on the other hand, must serve as the central leadership force towards a purposeful integrated performance and clear visionary leadership driving the tourism industry to influence other sectors.
Meanwhile, developers should make sure the fundamentals of their plan are in place such as the destination growth projections, destination offerings, existence of a clear brand, ease of accessibility, uniqueness of experiences and effective travel trade cooperation and coordination.
He also suggested that the supply side of the industry should ensure the capacity and yield management of airlines, accommodation and attractions, skills development, safety and security, public transport services, support services and quality assurance.
Hauri explained that the destination brand has actually two audiences which are the traveler as the reflection of character and promise of the experience, and people of the destination that symbolize the place’s DNA such as culture, spirit, personality and future aspirations.
With both as the two powerful forces in the tourism economy, he added that public-private partnerships should be created to address infrastructure development, regional development, safety and security, crisis recovery, economic stimulation, education and skills development, mega-event activation, marketing and promotion.
Other areas in the industry Hauri cited that Philippines could take advantage of are the eco-tourism development that can be both good for the environment and branding, business tourism, niche tourism, festivals and major events, development through media, role of film, volunteerism such as Eskwela Turismo, Suroy-Suroy Sugbo and Turismo Sugbo and conservation of tourism for its long-term sustainability.
Hauri was one of the speakers during the 2nd National Business Conference of Independent Business Clubs and Chambers at Marco Polo Plaza that was organized by the Makati and Cebu Business Clubs on November 13. (FREEMAN)