The Philippines is still under the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when it comes to tourism. 

Local and international restrictions set up to curb the spread of the coronavirus are also preventing the tourism industry in the country from recovering. 

However, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is aiming to change all of that this year with its revised strategic plans for 2021 and 2022, to be more specific the Reformulated National Tourism Development Plan (RNTDP).

With this new scheme, DOT plans to introduce policies and strategies to develop sustainable domestic tourism. 

According to the national agency, this is what they’re trying to achieve: “Ensuring responsive and timely policies in support of safe and fun tourism, Cultivating convergence to develop and promote sustainable domestic tourism; and Enhancing capacity among tourism workers to ensure employability and productivity.”

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said they’re focusing on the ‘re-calibration of their products’ and adapting them to the ‘post-pandemic era.’

“While we continue to sustain our engagements in our key, strategic and opportunity markets, the Department is also preparing and recalibrating its tourism products, adapting them to new market preferences in the post-pandemic era, where more sustainable, greener, and immersive tourism experiences are expected to be in high demand,” Romulo explained to Business Mirror.

As the first step to this new scheme, the department will be “developing and improving the the tour quality and experience in the priority tourism circuits that match market preferences for safe travels in open spaces/outdoors, nature-based, curated, sensorial, and inclusive products.”

Another facet that the DOT sees prospering is ‘Adventure Tourism.’

“We also see the potential in motorbiking and biking. This is the low-density, but high-value kind of tourism experience. This influenced the department’s thrust to further develop Adventure Tourism,” said Romulo. 

And of course, the DOT wants to tie all of this up by creating a safe, green travel and facilitation system for tourists. 

It will include the upgrading of “access and destination management infrastructure in the areas of sanitation, engineered landfill, health-care facilities and emergency response system, among others.”

To make this more effective, DOT will create “uniform safe travel protocols to facilitate domestic mobility and conduct a rapid assessment on readiness for international initiatives.” This will make way for online visa applications, adoption of the International Air Transport Association’s Travel Pass, and the creation of an “immunity/green/safe passport.”

‘Green Corridors’ will also be developed in gateway airports like Clark, Cebu, Davao, Bohol, Puerto Princesa, among others as a strategy to open tourism borders. 

With these new strategies in place, the DOT expects inbound tourist arrivals to reach 5 million in 2022.

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