Thursday, November 18, 2010

From Marcos-phobia to Gloria-phobia or why the Tourism Act of 2009 isn't being implemented

As it turns out, the decision to re-brand the country's tourism was allegedly handed over to Campaigns and Grey.

The much criticized "Pilipinas, kay ganda" slogan which replaced "Wow Philippines" wasn't a product of a consultative process, as mandated by the Tourism Act of 2009 -- which, up to this point, hasn't been implemented by the Aquino Administration.

Here's part of an article from the Philippine Online Chronicles:
More important than the country logo or slogan are the tourism problems. (Former Tourism Secretary and Senator Dick) Gordon believes that Department of Tourism (DOT) should concentrate on problems surrounding tourism.
According to Gordon, the real problem is that the Tourism Act is not being implemented. The whole formula of the Tourism Act is “to make 1/2 of the tourism decisions made by the private sector and 1/2 by the government so you don’t change the rules in the middle of the game.” The idea of “Pilipinas kay Ganda” was not deliberated upon by the stakeholders but by an ad agency, the Campaigns and Grey who were also behind the campaign of presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino. The process involved “intensive market research and rigorous branding process”. A question of transparency and disclosure on the involvement of the ad agency was asked in Twitter. Were the stakeholders' views taken into account?
The private sector has a significant role in shaping the future of the industry by virtue of the Tourism Act.
Former President Arroyo signed into law Republic Act 9593, otherwise known as the National Tourism Policy Act of 2009 (or Tourism Act for brevity) on May 12, 2009 which declared as a national policy that tourism is an engine of investment, employment, growth and national development in the Philippines. The passage into law of the Tourism Act of 2009 was “strongly pushed in Congress by private sector stakeholders. Many industry leaders have, in fact, dedicated time, energy and their own resources to convince government policy-makers on the necessity of having a tourism code as a backbone of the country’s economic growth and prosperity.”
In  November 2, 2010, some private sector tourism players got  frustrated by the non-recognition of the Tourism Congress by DOT Secretary Alberto Lim.  Bobby Joseph, national chairman of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (NAITAS) said Secretary Lim continued to ignore appeals to convene the Tourism Congress which is needed to ensure coordination between government and the private sector.  Apparently, Sec Lim is stalling because he “questioned the legality of the Tourism Congress due to a single pending case filed by a single person who (questioned) the IRR (implementing rules and regulations) despite being present during the consultations.”
Dr. Robert Lim Joseph, chairman of the Tourism Educators and Movers (TEAM) Philippines, claimed the DOT leadership has failed in conducting much-needed consultation and collaboration with industry stakeholders that should have helped the DOT in crafting the direction of the country's tourism. 

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