‘Private sector can lead tourism industry better’
THE Department of Tourism (DOT) should be “abolished” and its role turned over to the private sector, said travel executive Robert Lim Joseph.
Joseph said the private sector would be better implementors of tourism policies and can lay down long-term plans that provide continuity amid changes in the administration.
Lim is founder of tourism organizations like the Tourism Educators and Mover (Team) Philippines, Travel Cooperative of the Philippines (TCP) and the Save Our Skies Movement.
“The private sector can implement policies while the government agencies can collaborate with one another and provide support,” Joseph said in a press conference yesterday at the Marco Polo Plaza.
Major tourism industry players are gathered in Cebu Aug. 10 to 13 for an international conference on Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE).
Joseph has been advocating drastic changes in the tourism industry, including the resignation of Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim.
He said the DOT could function like the Hong Kong Tourism Board, which is led by private sector operators of hotels, travel agencies, resorts, retailers and passenger carriers.
He called for “immediate” changes in the DOT including the resignation of Secretary Lim, who he said lacked experience in the tourism industry.
He recalled the DOTs ’failed launch of a new “Pilipinas” tourism logo that was criticized for being a copycat version of Poland’s logo design and an inadequate substitute for the successful “Wow Philippines” campaign.
Joseph said he and other tourism stakeholders are also protesting the provision of Executive Order No. 29 authorizing the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Philippine Air Panels to pursue the “Open Skies” policy signed by President Benigno Aquino last March.
The order authorizes the Philippine air negotiating panel to grant third, fourth and fifth freedom rights to the country’s airports other than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport subject to existing guidelines.
But Joseph said the fifth freedom right is “not fair and reciprocal” to local air carriers.
Additional international flights would only compete with local carriers for Filipino outbound passengers and penetrate the local market.
Joseph said the country has an average of 10.8 million outbound passengers nationwide, where 3.2 million passengers are tourists and 7.5 million are Filipinos.
“The fifth freedom rights is lopsided against our local carriers,” he said.
He said EO 29 should be amended to remove the fifth freedom and include reciprocity on the flights.