The Board of Investments (BOI), in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Philippine Hotels Ownership Association (PHOA) and the Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers Inc. (PACEOS), launched the roadmaps for the Hotel Sector and the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) industry in front of stakeholders on November 10, 2017 at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Makati City.

The roadmaps were presented during the 18th Trade and Industry Development (TID) Updates. The event gathered foreign and local chambers, embassies, industry associations, development institutions, media and other key players from the public and private sectors and provided a platform for exchange of information and ideas on the industry roadmaps. These roadmaps serve as guide to all stakeholders in developing the priority interventions to address the binding constraints restraining the full potential of the industries. The roadmaps also help define government positions and strategies for trade and investment negotiations, as well as identify value-chain gaps to guide industry promotion.

DOT Director Milagros Say presented the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) highlighting the different initiatives under the Plan to “develop a globally competitive, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tourism industry that promotes inclusive growth through employment generation and equitable distribution of income thereby contributing to building a foundation for a high-trust society.” Dr. Peter U of the Economics Department of the University of the Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) introduced the Hotel Industry Roadmap in behalf of the PHOA while Rhodora Tiongson, Consultant/Director of the Strategic Engagement of Enhancing Development Inc. provided the highlights of the MICE Industry Roadmap in behalf of PACEOS. Both roadmaps, as part of the larger tourism industry, seek to enhance the industry’s competitiveness to contribute more to inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

“We view the new roadmaps being presented today as very timely. The year 2017 was declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development because of the potential of the tourism sector to advance the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Trade Assistant Secretary Felicitas Agoncillo-Reyes said. “The BOI recognizes the importance of hotel and accommodation in the value chain of tourism sector. We have witnessed the capability of the Philippines to stage international events. No wonder, in the midst of proliferation of global hotel chains in major cities, our local hotel developers are also expanding aggressively. There is a strong demand for more quality accommodations not only from tourists but also business travelers, foreign consultants and expatriates who temporarily reside in the country” she pointed out.

BOI Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa lauded the presence of key stakeholders in the event manifesting a “serious commitment to support our collaborative goal in boosting the tourism sectors, such as hotel/accommodation and MICE. The discussions have been fruitful and very engaging. We hope to immediately convene the Sectoral Working Groups for the two industries and start on the implementation of the roadmaps.”

“We intend to pursue a proactive and targeted approach to address these concerns in close partnership with the relevant associations, academe and other government agencies. This will hopefully build your industry’s global competitiveness while also helping local stakeholders to compete on equal footing with the rest of our ASEAN neighbors,” Dichosa elaborated.

The hotel sector and MICE industry have been identified by the DOT as among the main tourism components in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) which seeks to increase foreign tourist arrivals to 12 million and around 90 million domestic travelers by 2022.

Tourism-related industries accounted for 8.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, according to figures released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). It contributed Php1.245 trillion last year up by 13.7 percent from 2015’s PhP 1.09 trillion. Employment in tourism was estimated at 5.2 million in 2016 accounting for 12.8 percent of the total national employment figure.