The launch of the Department of Tourism It's more fun in the Philippines campaign is having an impressive impact on the tourism industry. To build on this success and make sure that our tourism industry continues to grow, we now put the focus on our people – those people working in the tourism industry that make tourism in the Philippines 'happen'.
PICTourism is a capacity building intervention to support regulatory review and reform, raise tourism and hospitality service and accommodation standards, and develop skills to support the growth of the tourism sector in the Philippines. The project is being implemented in four pilot areas: Bohol, Cebu, Davao and Palawan, which are major tourism hotspots in the country. The project will run for 38 months, and is expected to be completed in 2016.
We have great locations, we definitely have the potential, and we believe that we can achieve the Philippines National Tourism Development Plan target of bringing in 10 million international visitors and 56 million domestic travelers by 2016. What the Government sees as possible roadblocks in achieving these targets are the shortage of skilled labor and the quality of service standards, which affect the international competitiveness of our tourism sector. With the new hotel developments that are happening, the demand for skilled labor in this sector will continue to rise, posing a challenge to the industry.
Building on the world-renowned Filipino hospitality, PICTourism aims to turn these challenges and targets into opportunities to improve our tourism industry. PICTourism has three components that zoom in on enhancing quality standards of tourism products and services. One component focuses on providing grants to tourism enterprises and organizations to implement competency-based staff training. Another focuses on putting in place a new star rating for accommodation providers expanding from the previously accepted quality of facilities to now include the quality of service. Lastly, the program delves into tourism-related regulations to overcome barriers and spur the growth of the tourism sector.
PICTourism is a technical assistance project amounting to USD 7.1 million granted to the Department of Tourism, administered by the Asian Development Bank, and financed by the Government of Canada.