TOURISM Secretary Ma. Esperanza Christina G. Frasco said her department will reach out to every corner of the country to ensure the promotion of destinations and attractions that have not received their due attention thus far.

The Department of Tourism (DoT) “(will) reach out to all of the regional offices, to all of our partners in the local government units in the 81 provinces, over 140 cities, and over 1,400 municipalities across the Philippines, (and) to extend to them the hand of collaboration from the DoT and to send across the message that we are here to help, we are here to help the industry arrive and recover,” Ms. Frasco said during a DoT flag ceremony on Monday at Makati City. 

“We foresee a DoT that is not only focused on the crafting of national policy, but more importantly, to be in touch with the realities on the ground, (and) to give attention to sites, peoples, products that have not been necessarily given equal opportunity to be developed,” she added.

“This week, I will be starting my listening tour as the Secretary of the DoT to see for myself, and to hear the challenges faced by our regional offices and tourism stakeholders across Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. The objective being to be (made aware of) the prevailing issues that need to be addressed and craft solutions that will ensure the full rehabilitation and recovery of the tourism industry,” Ms. Frasco said.

Ms. Frasco was recently re-elected as mayor of Liloan, Cebu. She is the daughter of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia.

According to a recent report issued by the DoT and the Philippine Statistics Authority, employment in the tourism industry rose 4.6% to about 4.9 million people in 2021, accounting for 11.1% of overall employment.

The report also found that trips by domestic tourists rose 38.16% to 37.28 million, while foreign tourist arrivals dropped by 88.95% to 163,879. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave