(SPOT.ph) With all the beautiful destinations that the Philippines has to offer, it's no wonder that tourism has become one of the most important sectors of our economy. In June 2019, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the contribution of tourism-related industries to our Gross Domestic Product is at 12.7% in 2018. Employment in this sector also increased by 1.8% from 2017 to 2018. But it's not all numbers and percentages. For 2019, the Department of Tourism hopes to put the spotlight on how this industry changed the lives of ordinary Filipinos. The Tourism Decade, as the new campaign is called, celebrates the rise of the Philippines' travel industry and 10th anniversary of the Tourism Act of 2009.
"Sa pag-unlad ng turismo, umangat ang Pilipino," the video clip, which was released on September 27, starts off. It goes on to cite examples of this development: homeowners in Laguna are now raft rowers across Lake Pandin, choir members in Bohol goes on to become performers aboard the popular Loboc River Cruise, and a T'Boli community in Cotabato helps promote local tourism in Soccksargen region. Inspiring individuals were also applauded, including dishwasher-turned-island-hopping-guide Angelo Cayabo from Palawan; Eva Valledor, an engineer who founded a social enterprise that focuses on indingeous weaving in Puerto Princesa; Bobby Adrao, a fisherman who is now a protector of whalesharks in Sorsogon; Jamie Aquino, a deaf tour guide in Intramuros; Laida Escoltura, a homecook-turned-restaurateur in Siargao; and Apo Whang-od, a century-old tattoo artist from Kalinga. And who can forget Rambo, a four-legged tour guide in Batad?
"The Tourism Decade celebration is an event not only to commemorate the law, but also to honor the travel industry’s contributions to the improvement of the lives of the Filipino people, and to bring attention to tourism’s functions as an engine of investment, employment, growth and national development," Tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in her keynote speech during the campaign's launch.
For an in-depth look into their stories, log on to the Deparment of Tourism - The Tourism Decade's website.