The Department of Tourism (DOT) said a higher budget in 2023 will allow the agency to fund plans and programs to revive the industry.
During the House Appropriations Committee hearing on Wednesday, DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco unveiled new convergence projects and programs in line with a 2023 proposal of 3.573 billion pesos — 30% more than this year’s allocation – covering the Office of the Department Secretary, Intramuros Administration, National Parks Development Committee, and Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving, which is currently in the process of becoming a DOT Attachment Agency.
Plans, according to Frasco, will include setting up tourist service rest areas and information desks across the country, developing a tourism lifecycle app for tourists, a call center tourist assistance programs and the launch of a guest incentive system, among others. .
The DOT plans to launch at least 10 service rest areas to be placed in strategic locations during this year.
“These areas will serve travelers in need of accommodation, information, security and safety. They will also have a pasalubong center inside, displaying our local products, showcasing Filipino art,” Frasco said.
The DOT will also provide facilities for persons with disabilities at tourist service rest areas as well as handicapped ramps at national tourist sites.
Frasco said the DOT will also develop a Tourist Lifecycle app to collect data for tourism intelligence, such as tourist spending and length of stay at a destination.
The app will have a tourist assistance function and an e-commerce platform that will showcase Filipino products.
“The Tourist Lifecycle app will serve as a super app that aims to connect tourists with accredited tourist establishments for accommodation, food, shopping, trips to accredited transportation, tour operators and tour guides,” Frasco said.
The DOT will also make improvements to existing land and sea facilities in the country to make them more efficient, aesthetically appealing and reflect the Filipino brand.
DOT has identified Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, Davao International Airport Terminal 2, Davao International Airport, and Cebu City Pier 1 as pilot projects for the Gateway Improvement Program .
The DOT plans to set up a tourist assistance call center and one-stop shop where tourists can get information and help with their travel-related issues. —Irma Issip