DOT chief: LGUs play vital role in ASEAN Tourism Forum 2016
By Azer N. Parrocha
MANILA, Jan. 20 (PNA) -- Local government units or LGUs play a vital role in serving as host communities to tourists staying in the country, especially during high-profile meetings such as the ongoing ASEAN Tourism Forum 2016 slated Jan 18 to 22.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. made this point citing the importance of post-tours for buyers which are part of the ATF 2016 itinerary. The tours around the Philippines run from Jan 23 to 26.
Aside from being host communities, Jimenez said that LGUs also helped validate and reinforce the brand experience of tourists.
He meanwhile cited the role of LGUs as “the face of the Philippines and ASEAN tourism.”
“The DOT is counting on them to enhance the distinctiveness of the Philippine tourism so as to make it retain its individuality while contributing perceptively to the diversity of ASEAN,” Jimenez said.
He further said that LGUs also make such diversity the commonality or the collective unique selling point (USP) of the region’s overall tourism brand.
ATF 2016 Philippine Host Committee Chairperson and DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. for his part expressed confidence that the tours will successfully showcase LGU’s efforts in promoting their respective tourism assets.
Bengzon said that this was a good way to share the Philippines best tourism practices to the rest of the world.
The tours offer the ATF 2016 delegates any of the following choices—the UNESCO World Heritage Tour from Vigan, Ilocos Sur to Bangui, Ilocos Norte; the Southern Luzon’s Cultural, Wellness and Culinary Trail from Tagaytay to Tall Heritage Town in Batangas to Nasugbu, Batangas; the Cordillera Heritage Tour from Banaue to Sagada; the Bicol Express from Albay to Sorsogon;
The Northern Palawan’s Eco Adventure from Busuanga to Coron; the Last Frontier from Sabang and Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa to El Nido in Palawan; the Visayas Charms from Bohol to Cebu; the Negros y Cebu from Dumaguete to Siquijor to Cebu’ and the Island to Highlands from the cities of Davao in Davao del Sur to Tagum in Davao de Norte and all the way to Samal Island.
“The LGUs in the provinces of Albay, Bohol, Cebu and Ilocos Norte and Palawan, the cities of Davao, Lapu-Lapu and Puerto Princesa and the town of Banaue as tourism destinations are naturally and culturally diverse, providing a menu of widely different brand experiences that reflect ASEAN’s diversity and can only be aptly and deserving described as a complete package,” Bengzon said.
Bengzon also cited the role of national flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) as well as other local airlines to also put a human face to the country’s tourism brand.
PAL flew in the most number of delegates to the ATF 2016 being the official flag carrier and platinum sponsor for the ATF 2016.
The DOT official also hailed PAL’s determination to rise from a full-service, three-star international airline to a five-star and gain a slot in the Skytrax World’s Top Ten Airlines or win any of its prestigious World Airline Awards. (PNA)