Early April will see a complete overhaul of marketing strategies for tourism in the Philipines. Two bodies were, until today, in charge of the Philippines tourism destiny – the DoT (Department of Tourism), which handled both the functions of a ministry and of a development state agency, and the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation (PCVC). The Philippine Convention & Visitors Corporation is an emulation of the DoT and is in charge of promoting tourism through marketing campaigns, as well as attracting and handling travelers in the country. The chairman for the PCVC was the secretary of tourism, with a CEO being appointed by the board composed mainly of members from the DoT, as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs, the governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines, and the president of Philippine Airlines.
Last year, outgoing Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo enacted the Philippines “Tourism Act 2009,” paving the way to a complete reshuffle of tourism bodies. The new structure emulates mostly Thailand’s model – the new Philippine Tourism Promotions Board (PTPB) will be a powerful official tourism agency in charge of promotion and marketing just like the TAT in Thailand, while the Department of Tourism will continue to provide directives to the archipelago’s tourism development as an equivalent to a ministry. The previous Philippine Conventions and Visitors Corporation is integrated into the PTPB with former Bureaus for Domestic and International Tourism Promotions and the DoT Office of Tourism Information being absorbed into the new entity. The Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) is hereby reorganized as the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
The Philippine President appoints, by mid-March, five private sector board members for a three-year term. Among the nominees are Felix Cruz (Board of Airline Representatives) for the department overlooking Land, Sea and Air Transport; Cesar Cruz (currently at the head of the Philippines Tour Operators Association Philtoa) for travel and tours; Rose Libongco (Hotel Sales and Marketing Association) for accommodation; Dexter Deyto (PACEOS) for MICE; and finally Marceline Clemente for other tourism enterprises. They will be joined by five permanent representatives from different government agencies. A COO was elected on March 25 with the current DoT undersecretary for sports, tourism, and wellness, with Cynthia Carreon taking over the destiny of the agency for a six-year term. Promotional funds will now be transferred from the DoT to the PTPB while the PCVC will be dissolved. Long-time serving PCVC head, Daniel Corpuz, is due to retirment on June 30. PTPB’s role will be to accelerate tourism development of the country, which still remains far behind the Philippines’ neighbors.
Official data for 2009 points to total arrivals of 5.2 million foreign and local tourists in 2009 for the country’ major destinations (approximately 3.3 million estimated foreign travelers) far behind Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore with over 10 million foreign travelers a year, or Indonesia with over 6.5 million travelers.