DOT, Grab sign deal for sustainable PHL tourism

Robie de Guzman   •   August 29, 2019   •   533

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) and Grab Philippines have signed an agreement to promote national tourism.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) inked on Wednesday, tourism materials developed and produced by the DOT showcasing the Philippines’ destination sites will be promoted and disseminated by Grab through its partner vehicles and mobile application.

DOT, Grab and the Intramuros Administration also launched “GrabWheels,” a two-wheel personal mobility device (commonly called e-scooters) that tourists can use to roam around the Walled City.

Around 30 units of GrabWheels will be made available for public use within Intramuros, free of charge for at least three months.

“This is in keeping with the efforts of the DOT to inculcate a culture of sustainable tourism. This is what we envision to do to some, and ideally, to all of our destinations. We want visitors to have access to an eco-friendly but fun mode of transportation,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during the MOU signing. 

“Sustainability demands that our planning and resources management must be responsible. Conversely, it should also maintain a high level of satisfaction and ensure meaningful experience of our tourists,” she stressed.

The Intramuros Administration also noted that these e-scooters will provide less carbon footprint and significantly reduce traffic congestion, which is a major problem in the area.

“This is just a pilot test. After a month, we will review its reception and determine the necessary mechanisms and setting of fees to make it sustainable,” Atty. Guiller Asido of the Intramuros Administration said.

Puyat also expressed hope that DOT’s partnership with Grab PH will help raise awareness among the public about the environmental issues facing the country.

“This partnership, hopefully, will raise their awareness about environmental issues and allow them to experience first-hand these sustainable tourism practices,” she said. 

PH secures two major awards in 2019 World Travel Awards

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 16, 2019

TOURISM AWARDS – Department of Tourism Undersecretary Arturo Boncato Jr. receives the Asia’s Leading Tourism Board and Asia’s Leading Dive Destination awards at the 2019 World Travel Awards on Saturday (Oct. 12). The DOT was hailed as Asia’s Leading Tourism Board after a significant increase in the country’s visitor arrivals has been recorded in the past year. (Photo courtesy of DOT)

The Philippines bagged two major awards at the 2019 World Travel Awards in Vietnam on October 12.

The 2019 World Travel Awards has hailed the Department of Tourism (DOT) as Asia’s Leading Tourism Board after it recorded a significant increase in visitor arrivals for the country in the past year.

There was a 14.08 percent year-on-year increase in the country’s international inbound traffic, based on the data of the DOT.

The country was also recognized as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination. According to the DOT, dive tourism is one of the key areas in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP ) 2016 – 2022.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the awards are “for all Filipinos to celebrate.”

“A triumph as great as this simply could not be possible without the combined hard work from the government, industry partners, and tourism stakeholders in realizing a more upward tourism industry for the country,” she said.—AAC

DOT fetes Palawan as among world’s 10 most beautiful islands

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 27, 2019

The Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrates the recognition of Palawan after it was hailed as among the world’s 10 best islands by CNN Travel.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has lauded the efforts of the local government in Palawan for promoting sustainable tourism.

“Our rehabilitation efforts to preserve the beauty of Palawan did not go unnoticed. We are thankful for this CNN citation of our tourist destinations,” she said.

According to CNN Travel, Palawan is “a gorgeous haven of pale sand and clear water.”

Included in the list of best islands in the world are Milos, Greece; Bartolomé, Ecuador; Fregate, Seychelles; St. Lucia, Lesser Antilles; Jura, Scotland; Komodo Island, Indonesia; and Kaua’i, United States.

Meanwhile, Travel+Leisure magazine in New York ranked Palawan second among world’s best islands.—AAC

Gov’t extends rehabilitation works in El Nido

Marje Pelayo   •   August 2, 2019

El Nido Lagoon in Palawan

MANILA, Philippines – Top tourist destination El Nido in Palawan will not be closed to tourists despite decision to extend rehabilitation works in the island.

The rehabilitation program is managed by an interagency task force composed of the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, the Interior and Local Government and Tourism.

On August 4 a 20-day inspection and investigation will commence to determine the owners and which establishments are non-compliant to the environmental law and hold no necessary permits.

Those who fail government auditing will be ordered closed.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año noted however, that it would be impossible to demolish all structures established within the 20-meter easement zone.

“What we want to promote are the islands of El Nido,” Año said.

“Doon dapat pumunta ang mga tourist doon sa sentro (Tourists should be led to the city center). It’s more on commercial ang lodging, accommodation for the tourist,” he added.

Meanwhile, several areas in Bacuit Bay were declared ‘no swimming zone’ due to contaminated water and because the structures there were already by the beach.

These areas are the Corong-Corong Outfall, El Nido Estero Outfall, Masagana Outfall anf Cabugao Outfall.

“Ang Corong-Corong Outfall, ang fecal coliform is now at 99,315. Ang normal is 100, (Corong-Corong Outfall’s fecal coliform (level) is now at 99,315. The normal level is (only) 100,)” noted Tourism Secretary Bernadet Romolu-Puyat.

“Maiintindihan naman nila siguro kung bakit bawal mag swimming, (They would understand why swimming is banned),” she added.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu stressed that this effort of the government is a way to protect the area and so as not to worsen pollution problems in the island such as what happened in Boracay.

“We will continue to stop this because we cannot allow na mag-deteriorate ang El Nido (to deteriorate) into another Boracay,” Cimatu said.

According to DOT, there are about 200,000 tourists that visit El Nido every year. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

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