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Inaugural Philtoa tourism forum throws spotlight on ASEAN integration
Rosa Ocampo, Manila, August 30, 2013

THE impact on tourism from the creation of a single ASEAN market in 2015 is one of the topics that will be highlighted at the Philippine Tour Operators Association's (Philtoa) first tourism forum next week.


To be held on September 3, the forum will run in the same week as the yearly Philippine Travel Exchange, Philippine Travel Mart and jobs fair at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia.


Philtoa president, Cesar Cruz, said the association has decided to highlight the impending creation of the ASEAN Economic Community as implementation is only two years away, yet there is a “very low awareness of it in the Philippines”.


Cruz added that the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Agreement – which calls for the regional mobility of and competency-based education and training for those in the hotel and travel services – would “affect tourism professionals the most”.


One worry was that the free flow of tourism professionals would result in a loss of good talent as they opt to work in other ASEAN countries, he noted.


Philtoa is lobbying for the last week of September to be declared as an annual “tourism week”.


“We need to raise the level of consciousness among Filipinos on the importance of tourism, that it is not just for those who can afford to buy tour packages but that it also benefits the country by creating jobs, economic and development opportunities and that we are also responsible for making the tourism industry sustainable,” said Cruz.


The forum, organised jointly by Philtoa and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), will be graced by speakers from ASEAN and the Philippines and is one in a series of forums that MAP will be spearheading regarding ASEAN economic integration.

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