THE Department of Tourism (DoT) hopes to train 100,000 tourism workers in 2023 to improve the visitor experience, Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina G. Frasco said.

Speaking at the recent 22nd World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit, Ms. Frasco said:

“Next year, our goal is to train 100,000 tourism workers harnessing the seven values of Filipino hospitality… (We will continue to train) our people to be purveyors of happiness and… hope. And to build upon all of that the sense of community… the Bayanihan spirit,” she added.

In June, the DoT, citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), said that jobs in the tourism industry numbered 4.9 million in 2021, up 4.1% from a year earlier.

The PSA data estimated tourism direct gross value added (TDGVA) at P1.30 trillion in 2021, up 9.2%.

The 2021 TDGVA is equivalent to a 5.2% share of gross domestic product, up from 5.1% in 2020.

Separately, the DoT said it broke ground on a rest area for visitors near the Lion’s Head along Kennon Road, the mountain highway to Baguio City.

The rest area will be built in collaboration with the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority, and Baguio City.

The rest area will have “clean and decent restrooms,” a gift shop, and a tourist information center, Ms. Frasco said.

Baguio City will take over operations and maintenance of the facility after construction.

“The pandemic hampered the usually vibrant tourism environment of Baguio, with the city only recording over 267,000 visitors in 2021 and 268,000 in 2020, as compared to the over 1.5 million in 2019. The first 10 months of 2022 posted growing traffic to the city, with more than 474,000 visitor arrivals recorded,” the DoT said.

In October, the DoT broke ground on other rest areas — two in the Visayas, one in Bukidnon, and one on Samal Island.

“The Baguio tourist rest area is the first ever in Luzon, with others scheduled to be put up soon in the provinces of Bohol, Ilocos Norte, and Palawan,” the DoT said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave