by Azer N. Parrocha, Philippine News Agency | Friday, 17 June 2016
With hopes that the next administration would raise efforts to ensure the safety and security of foreign tourists in the Philippines, a travel group has urged President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to play by his strengths.
“We have to start from what the new Duterte government has in its tract record of peace and order in Davao City,” Edwin Villanueva, public relations officer of travel agency group S8 Exhibition Inc. (SEI) said in an interview in Makati.
He mentioned how Duterte’s leadership has made Davao into one of the world’s safest cities.
“We promote “fun”, but if you don’t feel safe, that’s not fun at all. He has to duplicate what he has done in Davao in other cities,” Villanueva further said.
Villanueva made the comment following the recent beheading of hostage Robert Hall, the second Canadian to be beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf Group after a deadline for ransom lapsed last Monday.
He also described kidnapping incidents like this as a “black-eye” to the tourism industry.
In a separate presscon, Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Neil Reeder also stressed the importance of safety and security in keeping the tourism industry afloat.
“We would like to see more tourists choose Philippines as a destination of choice and I can’t emphasize enough the need to ensure a safe, secure environment for foreign tourists who are visiting,” Reeder said.
Aside from boosting tourist safety and security, Villanueva also expressed hope that the next tourism officials will be able to promote the country in new, emerging economies especially high-income middle-classes.
He stressed emphasis to prioritize responsible tourism through regulating the inflow of tourists to prevent damage to the Philippines’ natural resources and harm to indigenous peoples (IPs). (PNA)