A Future for Philippine Tourism

Over the past weeks, I have been traveling with my wife and kids in places that we have never been to – Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, and Budapest. We have been touring and visiting countless churches, going by train with heavy bags. Luckily, my children are now bigger, and their task is to carry the bags.

By visiting these countries, you can see that tourism is a main source of income for many citizens. There are many historical sites and beautiful churches that have been well preserved for many centuries. (By the way, even with so many churches in Prague, many people are still agnostic. In fact, they have one of the highest divorce rates at 70%.)

The train system in these countries is world class, matching those in developed European countries. The comfort rooms are well-marked and clean, even if you have to pay. So you see, the support services are well-developed to ensure that tourists are kept comfortable. Though, it is apparent that there are less Americans travelling now in Europe compared to the last time we were here. Even the hotels here feel the absence of American tourists.

The Philippines definitely has so much potential, as most European countries are landlocked and many of them are not able to enjoy great beaches. Thailand is a destination point for many Europeans. But, most definitely, the Philippines islands and beaches are far more superior. The Koreans, Chinese and Japanese are already a huge market for us. If we are able to attract the Europeans and the Americans, you can imagine the potential of our tourism taking over.

It is clear that the Philippines’ business model is service-based, as we send people overseas to work as nurses, household helps, construction workers, maritime workers, hotel managers, etc. Now, domestically, we have call centers and BPOs. Tourism is related to service. Ace Durano has been doing a good job in promoting the Philippines. We have discussed efforts on how we can encourage more tourism negosyos, particularly the less capital-intensive tourism negosyo models like offering tour packages, bed & breakfast facilities, tourist van rentals, tour guide services, and adventure sports facilities. And, definitely, don’t forget about a campaign on clean toilets. Lately, I have seen this unique system of tricycles that run on alternative fuel as they go around Fort Bonifacio. This can be viewed as something with so much potential. We just need to encourage more Filipinos to start dreaming BIG.

Let me continue to share with you the dreams of other Filipino entrepreneurs.

“I dream to make a significant contribution for the well-being of my country. I dream for the Philippines to regain the promise and recognition it had in the past, as the most prosperous country in Asia, in terms of the bounty of its natural resources and the greatness of its people. And that we achieve the three simple aspirations of our people: to have decent shelter, to have food on our table and to provide good education for our children.”

-Sen. Manny Villar

“When she founded Rustan’s more than 50 years ago, my Mother, Glecy Tantoco’s vision was to provide the Philippines with a window to the best the world had to offer. At the same time, she put our thrust on local product development called OUR VERY OWN. We would like to perpetuate this vision, with Rustan’s being an inimitable and indispensable venue for the best the world and the Philippines have to offer.”

-Zenaida Tantoco, President of Rustan’s

“My dream is for our country’s media to focus more on the positive stories. Headline the Good in the Filipino – success stories, milestones, advocacies, and new creations by focusing on the good news. We can boost the morale of Pinoys and change their mindset from being cynical to positive. Let’s Champion the Good in the Filipino at home and overseas. This is our land. Let’s protect it and love it.”

-Rico Hizon, News Anchor of BBC World News

“I dream for myself and my country to be able to continue to live in peace with ourselves and our neighbors, to maintain our freedom of speech and to be responsible world citizens, and, for all to prosper in health, goodwill and harmony.”

-Grace Glory Go, Executive Vice President of Philippine Star

“Winners are those who STAY AHEAD. My dream is to Revolutionize Learning by enhancing teaching and technology through Robotics. Through the Philippine Robotics Olympiad which I annually organize, students in elementary and high school level are given the opportunity to represent their school and participate in a science and technology competition. The PRO has gone beyond the “economic barrier”, with public and private schools nationwide participating in the event. I inspire and encourage these kids to be our future engineers, scientists and inventors. They eventually will be part of a Technologically Literate workforce for our country. My dream for the Philippines is for us to be a Knowledge Society. There is a need for major policy implementation in reducing the digital gap in E-ducation. We must brave the challenges of globalization and industrialization by making technology an integral part of our educational system. Digital literacy is not only important to achieve a knowledge economy… but it is the “Wave of the Future”.”

-Mylene Abiva, President of FELTA Multimedia Inc.

“My dream is to see my brand F&H and other Filipino brands in the international retail market. With this, we could provide more jobs to our countrymen. I hope someday, we will all be united as one nation with one common goal.”

-Ronald Pineda, President of Folded & Hung

“Filipinos have proven time and again that we can be World Class! My dream for myself and my fellow Filipinos is to individually adopt a World Class personal and corporate mentality and to GO for Excellence in everything we do! Entrepreneurs take care of their business, their bread and butter. If all of us, entrepreneurs and employees alike, treat, take care of and love the business as our own, we would excel in our respective fields and responsibilities. We can be World Class in our own rights. Each one doing his share towards a World Class Philippines!”

-Corazon Dayro Ong, CEO of CDO Foodsphere

“I dream for the day that our countrymen do not feel compelled to leave the country to search for a better life; where all Filipinos are proud to be Filipinos and do not try to hide behind another nationality; a country where peace and prosperity reside and where politics and personal gain are secondary to the greater good of all. I dream for myself and my family to feel safe at all times; to be able to reach our full potential; to be able to contribute to making the country the best that it can be.”

-Cathy Turvill, President of Nurture Spa