Panelists of the International Tourism Forum (ITF) lauded the Philippines’ national policy for sustainable tourism development and response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic outlined by the Department of Tourism’s (DOT).
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat led the country presentation last October 27, 2021, at the 2nd Online Travel Mart of the Japan Association of Travel Agents Association (JATA), which will run from October 17 to November 30, 2021.
She was also one of the panelists of the ITF, which included luminaries of the Japan travel industry like Milton Morinaga, chairman of the board of Guam Tourist Bureau, and Eijiro Yamakita, president and CEO of the Japan Travel Bureau.
Puyat shared the DOT’s tourism programs, the Tourism Response and Recovery Plan (TRRP) and the reformulated National Tourism Development Plan for 2020-2022.
“We must adopt a balanced approach, factoring in economic viability, job generation and environmental sustainability,” Puyat said.
The panelists lauded the DOT’s push for the prioritization of the vaccination of tourism frontliners.
She added that the pandemic gave rise to the opportunity for the tourism industry to recalibrate to be more responsible, accountable, inclusive, and sustainable.
Puyat also touted the Filipino brand of service, saying, “we are a nation that is committed to welcoming our guests with a smile and offering our best products and services.”
DOT officials backed her comments with the Philippine country presentation, a two-and-a-half-hour webinar exclusively viewed by JATA member agents.
In her keynote speech, Puyat confirmed the Philippines’ commitment to observe international health and safety standards recognized by international tourism bodies and pursue upgrading existing tourism products.
“We are confident that we can count on JATA’s support so we can add more years to our long and mutually beneficial relationship,” Puyat said.
Before the pandemic, Japan was the fourth biggest tourism market for the Philippines.
Puyat also called on the JATA executives to seek cooperation and active participation in the DOT Team Japan projects. She also updated the virtual audience on the Boracay rehabilitation programs.
JATA bestowed on Puyat the Excellent Partner Award for DOT’s role in the island’s rehabilitation on the occasion of the JATA Tourism Expo Japan 2019.