Villanueva urges DOT: Develop training programs to level up tourism workforce
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) should develop a roadmap for training, up-skilling, and re-skilling programs to address possible demand for tourism jobs as the Philippines opens up for travelers, senatorial candidate Joel Villanueva said Tuesday.
Villanueva said the DOT can work with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in developing the roadmap.
“This is a time for us to step up our tourism game, as neighboring countries are also opening up their travel destinations. The tourism industry should remind the world of the top-class Filipino brand of hospitality by upgrading its workforce,” Villanueva said in a statement.
Villanueva, who authored Republic Act No. 11230 or the Tulong Trabaho Act, said that the tourism sector can get the reinforcements through skills training programs offered by TESDA.
“The tourism industry can take part of the P1.515 billion we have allotted this year for the Tulong Trabaho Fund to address the training needs of our workforce,” Villanueva, who previously served as director general of TESDA, said.
“This way we can remain globally competitive and responsive to the demands of this priority industry,” he added.
Villanueva made the appeal after the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) found that the tourism industry in the Philippines will reach an annual growth rate of 6.7 percent in the next 10 years—exceeding the average growth rate of 5.6 percent for the overall economy.
The WTTC likewise projected that employment in the sector will grow annually by an average of 3 percent in that same period, generating 2.9 million new jobs.
Meanwhile, Villanueva also called on the Department of Health to include tourism workers as a priority sector in the vaccination of booster shots against COVID-19, stressing that they are deemed to be “economic frontliners.”
Aside from this, Villanueva said the government should extend help and support for micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the travel and tourism sector through the continuous and uninterrupted processing of loan applications under the Bayanihan 2 Act.
Citing the Philippine Statistics Authority, Villanueva said that as of 2021, around 49,368 MSMEs in the accommodations and food service activities industry are considered permanently closed, while 13,756 are temporarily closed.
“Supporting our MSMEs and skills development are crucial in the reemergence of the tourism sector from the pandemic. It’s now a matter of implementation for the current administration, and continuity for the upcoming administration,” Villanueva said.
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