Philippine Tourism Industry Finally United
Representatives from various sectors in tourism expressed renewed confidence in a unified industry as the Tourism Congress wrapped up its two-day membership meeting today with the election of a new Board of Trustees and set of officers.
“Your coming together today will guarantee that we will not only compete more effectively than before; we will finally win our fair share of the world’s booming travel market,” Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. told some 400 attendees in his keynote speech to open the event.
The Tourism Congress is the private-sector consultative body of the Department of Tourism (DOT) as mandated by the Tourism Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9593) which has its own Constitution and By-Laws. As resolved during yesterday’s meeting, membership now includes tourism enterprises accredited with the DOT as provided for in the Tourism Act. Moreover, inasmuch as voting power is vested solely in individual enterprises, members of associations are encouraged to apply for accreditation in order to fully participate. However, for purposes of the ongoing meeting, and in the interest of greater participation, the Congress had decided to defer compliance procedures for accreditation of new members. These amendments were presented by Outgoing Tourism Congress president Alma Jimenez.
A total of 18 vice presidents for six sectors – accommodation; travel and tour services, tourist transport services; meetings, incentive travels, conventions and exhibitions/events (MICE); tourism estate developers and management services; and other tourism related enterprises – each from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao were elected to comprise the new board of trustees.
The new board immediately convened to elect among themselves the following officers: president Celine Clemente, executive vice president Mario Mamon, vice president for Luzon Anthony de Leon, vice president for Visayas Hans Hauri, vice president for Mindanao Mary Ann Montemayor, secretary Marisa Nallana, assistant secretary Alice San Juan, treasurer Fidel Malaca and public relations officer Michelle Solon.
Other members of the board include Alice Queblatin, Victor Martinez, Ma. Theresa Acelo, Lourdes Bibit, Farida Pangilinan, Rosanna Forest, Edgar Caces, Ernesto Pelaez, Dexter Deyto and Eileen San Juan.
Sec. Jimenez expressed confidence that the reinvigorated sense of industry from the Congress will translate to a “golden era for Philippine tourism.”
“I truly believe that Philippine tourism is finally ready to take its place as one of the most valuable pillars of the Philippine economy and believe it or not, the Asian economy,” he added. “Certainly, my presence here today is proof positive that his Excellency President Noynoy Aquino is fully supportive of the tourism industry – the private sector most especially. As we have always said: tourism is the people’s business. It is our business. In the coming days, we will begin to assemble the words and pictures that will present the beauty and the wonder that is the Philippines in a more competitive world arena.”
The meeting concluded with a call for nominations of private sector representatives to the boards of three of DOT’s attached agencies, namely the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), Tourism Investment and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and Duty Free Philippines Corporation (DFPC).