Philippine Business News, Cebu – 26 businesses and associations from Cebu, Bohol, Davao and Palawan, have been awarded grants as part of the “Improving Competitiveness in Tourism” project from he Department of Tourism (DOT) and Asian Development Bank (ADB), with funding from the Canadian government.
Allan Canizal, DOT ASec, said in a press briefing the Skills Training Development Support grants aim to “improve service delivery in tourism towards competitiveness and inclusiveness.”
He continued, “We need to upgrade the kind of services we have. If we continue to do what we are doing right now, we might be overtaken by some other countries.”
“Tourists right now are becoming more discerning, and are more demanding on the type of experience they want. Workers in the tourism industry should be able to respond to that particular need of those new tourists,” he said.
Canizal emphasised the DOT aims to prepare the Philippines for ASEAN’s “Open Skies” agreement, which come into effect in 2015 and will encourage tourism and air travel amongst member countries.
“The DOT, together with other relevant government agencies, is giving more emphasis in our air access, making sure that our visa policies become attractive for travellers to come in, and the cost of doing business is reduced so that more investment would come in,” said Canizal.
The DOT hopes to increase the percentage of visitors to the Philippines, from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, from 8% of all tourists, to at least 10%, by 2016.
The “Improving Competitiveness in Tourism” project was launched in 2013, with $7.1m in technical assistance from the government of Canada. The project will run for 38 months, ending in 2016 with the aim to increase the Philippines’ ranking in the World Economic Forum Tourism and Travel Competitiveness index by at least 15 places from its 2011 position. The Philippines placed 94th of the 140 countries ranked in 2011 and had improved to 82nd by 2013.
A total of $1.8 million will fund the skills development program and provide training to 4,000 workers from the 26 grantees, starting June.
The full list of successful grant applicants was announced earlier in May:
Bohol Association of Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants Inc. (BAHRR)
The Bellevue Bohol
South Palms Resort Panglao
MetroCentre Hotel and Convention Center
Amarela Resort Corporation
Guide Union for Inbound Destination and Ecotourism (GUIDE), Inc. Davao
OLANGO Island Ecotour
Philippine Eagle Foundation, Inc.
The Pinnacle Hotel and Suites
Alegre Beach Resort and Spa
Alpa City Suites
Aziza Paradise Hotel
Cebu White Sands Resort & Spa
Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao
Eden Nature Park & Resort
Cebu Parklane International Hotel
Samal City Resort Owners Association
Waterfront Cebu City Hotel
Puerto Princesa Palawan Tour Guide Association
Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Villa Margarita Hotel Consortium
Aquagem Travel and Tours
Calamianes Association of Tourism Establishments, Inc.
Cebu Association of Tour Operators
Grand Menseng Hotel
Other parts of the DOT-ADB project will focus on a regulatory impact assessment, reviewing policies and laws affecting the tourism industry and an update to the hotel accreditation system, bringing it in line with international standards.