Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo on Thursday sat down with Metro Manila Mayors, Local Government Unit (LGU) representatives, tourism officers, line agency representatives, and private sectors to thresh out pressing issues, concerns, and plans to revitalize Metropolitan Manila’s thriving urban tourism.
She assured the representatives of the LGUs that a cruise tourism program that will greatly benefit Metro Manila is in the pipeline, as well as plans to strengthen the roster of Tourist Police in cooperation with the Philippine National Police and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
In her keynote speech at the Metro Manila Tourism Forum’s opening ceremony held today at the Crowne Plaza Galleria in Ortigas, Teo directed everyone’s attention to “Metro Manila’s share of challenges—the price that we all seem to be paying for its progress. The traffic, the congestion, lack of urban planning,” which she add are already “taking its toll on the metropolis.”
She said the Department of Tourism (DOT) will continue to be supportive of forums and dialogues as part of the “steps to address these concerns and start the big task of changing the ‘face’ of the city for tourists.”
“The successful staging of the Miss Universe pageant gave Metro Manila the chance to remind people all over the globe that it is a thriving city with much to offer. And we at the DOT provided you with a platform to re-introduce the cities,” Teo added, banking on big ticket events such as the Miss U to get the tourism numbers up and delivering great tourism experience.
The tourism chief also shared the DOT’s continuing plans to rehabilitate old Manila’s Intramuros, a “place we are exerting most effort on to ensure that its history is preserved.”
According to her, Manila’s great potential to survive is quite high, as the city, despite progress, has retained its old world charm. “And if we can restore its architectural landmarks, it can continue to be the regal queen of the country,” Teo suggested.
All these concerns and issues, Dr. Mina Gabor of the Automobile Association Philippines Travel (AAP Travel) said she hopes to get the answer after the two-day forum, while enjoining all tourism stakeholders to “make Metro Manila the next top 20 destination in the world.”
For his part, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista takes to heart the “importance of tourism on the economic life of our country’s cities now that travel has become much easier and cheaper. Almost everyone now can be a tourist.”
Teo assured all tourism stakeholders the DOT will remain at the forefront of advancing the country’s tourism agenda. “Beautiful destinations are not accidents; they are the results of deliberate, thoughtful planning, careful execution and much passion,” she concluded.
The 2017 Metro Manila Tourism Forum is now ongoing until tomorrow at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Ortigas, and is hosted by Quezon City government in cooperation with the DOT and the Tourism Promotions Board.