Opportunity to improve the country’s tourism

Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is going to hold its next national forum in the Philippines this year. 

GSTC is the international body recognized by the UNWTO whose central mission is to establish and manage the highest standards for sustainable tourism. The organization is tasked with managing global baseline standards in travel and tourism and every year, they hold a national forum in a designated country. GSTC sets the criteria for training and education, goal setting, measuring and monitoring progress in tourism efforts. In 2017, the GSTC forum was held in Vientiane, Laos while Korea hosted the 2016 forum. Previous to those years, Myanmar, Chile and Indonesia played host. For 2018, it’s the Philippines’ turn as the country prepares to host the event in Eco Village Resort Convention Center in Boracay in Aklan on March 15 – 16, 2018.

This is the first GSTC national forum for the Philippines so the organizers are leaving nothing to chance. It is going to be co-hosted by LEAD Impact Asia, a training and consultancy company which has always played an active role in global sustainable tourism.  Speakers from the US and Mexico will be flying in to their expertise with the stakeholders in the tourism industry. The presscon called by LEAD Impact Asia together with the Department of Tourism last Jan. 23 had representatives from the environmental NGO sector (Dr. AA Yaptinchay) and the LGUs (with young Vico Sotto, councillor of Pasig City, among others). Undersecretary Alma Rita Jimenez of DOT was there to talk about the many heritage sites in the country protected by UNESCO as among the tourism sites that we have the responsibility to preserve while sharing them with the rest of the world to appreciate.    

All destinations across the globe should aspire to reach GSTC’s prescribed standards if we are to sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, according to the UNWTO. Among the modules in the two-day program are “Making the Philippine Cultural and Heritage Tourism Sustainable” and “The Global Sustainable Tourism Council Standards.” The organizers are inviting representatives from the local hospitality sector (hotels, resorts, spas), the government sector and local government units. There are sponsorship packages being offered for this national forum for companies wishing to be a part of the endeavour, from P950,000 for Co-Presenters to P300,000 for Gold Sponsors, P200,000 for Silver and P100,000 for Bronze sponsorship.

While we are on the subject of tourism, the new Balingin bulk surface water project in Panglao, Bohol is good news to this province that was a virtual wasteland a few years back due to a devastating typhoon that cut through the island.  In such tragic circumstances, water is always a major problem, but the recent water project is the answer to the woes of the residents of the island.  The P1.5-billion water treatment facility and distribution project is being undertaken by Bohol-based Richli Corp. which will provide potable water to some 10,000 – 15,000 households in Panglao, Dauis and several barangays in Tagbilaran City.  Bohol is a beautiful island, one of the emerging tourism destinations in the country so this is indeed good news for Boholanos as they rise from the devastation.  Add to this the fact that Panglao International Airport will finally be operational in August this year, which means that there will be direct flights from Europe to Panglao in 2018.  Way to go, Bohol.

I have said this so many times in the past, and I am saying it again.  The global halal industry is fast rising and the Philippines ne to get into the act.  Trade assistant secretary Abdulgani Macatoman says that the Muslim population across the globe is steadily growing at 1.84 percent every year.  At present, he says, the Asian population is 1.4 billion and 32.43 percent of this is Muslim. Translating this to the global halal industry would mean $3.2 trillion, and it is expected to increase to $10 trillion by 2030, according to Macatoman.

    The Department of Trade and Industry is finally ready to undertake initiatives to push the Philippines’ halal exports through a halal-certification system with the help of the Philippine Accreditation Bureau. Having a national halal-certification scheme will improve our Philippine export of halal products and raise our credibility in the global halal market. Those who wish to be accredited by the Philippine Accreditation Bureau will have this certification scheme as their official guideline if they wish to be accredited by PAB. Hopefully, we can improve our measly five percent of the global halal trade.

How did the Bureau of Internal Revenue fare last year as far as collection efforts are concerned?

According to BIR commissioner Cesar Dulay, the agency missed its collection goal of P1.78 trillion, but it did not do badly at all.  It hit P1.76 trillion in 2017, just a bit short of its target. This also means a tax effort of 11.26 percent, an improvement of the previous five years’ average of between 10.5 to 10.9 percent.  In terms of growth, this agency also registered a significant increase at 12.8 percent, up from the average growth rate of between 9.31 percent to 9.71 percent in the last five years.

Kudos! For 2018, the Department of Finance has set a new target for tax collection for the BIR –P2.039 trillion. If we can curb smuggling significantly, we should be able to collect more duties and taxes and easily hit this new target.

Mabuhay!!!  Be proud to be a Filipino.

For inquiries (email) [email protected]