Department of Tourism (DOT) Prioritizes Emerging Destinations in Bid to Boost Philippine Tourism

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is set to elevate the Philippines as a tourism powerhouse in Asia by focusing on the promotion of emerging and lesser-known destinations across the country, emphasizing Filipino culture and identity. This commitment was highlighted by DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco during the grand launch of the “Bisita, Be My Guest” (BBMG) program in SOCCSKSARGEN (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City).

Addressing a diverse audience, including tourism stakeholders, local executives, foreign retirees, expatriates, and diplomats at the Metropolitan Theater in Isulan, Secretary Frasco underscored the DOT’s dedication to providing equal opportunities for tourism development and promotion, particularly in lesser-known destinations.

“Our President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos, Jr. very early on articulated in his administration that tourism is a priority, recognizing the power that tourism holds as far as its ability to change the lives of our fellow Filipinos,” said Secretary Frasco. She emphasized the directive to make tourism felt in the countryside, ensuring that no area is left behind in the development of tourism.

The DOT’s initiative aims to reshape the future of Philippine tourism by promoting not only key destinations but also emerging and lesser-known places. Secretary Frasco expressed her excitement about the warm welcome received in Sultan Kudarat, stating, “Panahon na sa Sultan Kudarat, inyu na ning oras na mulambo ang turismo sa inyong probinsya” (It’s time for Sultan Kudarat, this is your moment for tourism to thrive in your province).

The grand launch of BBMG in SOCCSKSARGEN showcased the program’s online tourism referral system, offering incentives to Filipinos for inviting foreign nationals to travel to the Philippines. The event featured cultural performances from Teatro Kalakat and the Hinugyaw dance group, highlighting the rich heritage of SOCCSKSARGEN.

Governor Datu Pax Ali S. Mangudadatu expressed the province’s full support for the DOT’s programs, affirming their commitment to making Sultan Kudarat a primary tourism destination. Sultan Kudarat 1st District Representative Princess Bai Rihan Mangudadatu-Sakaluran also expressed gratitude for the recognition of their province.

In addition to the BBMG launch, Secretary Frasco, accompanied by DOT officials, presented livelihood assistance amounting to P200,000 to the Inugyunay Women’s Weavers Association, a community-based Tourism Organization (CBTO) in Sultan Kudarat. The association, known for creating woven bags made of recycled plastic straps featuring hand-painted birds from the Baras Bird Sanctuary, will receive high-speed sewing machines and other essentials to enhance their bag-making business.

The DOT’s commitment to promoting emerging destinations and supporting local communities aligns with the broader vision of the Marcos Administration to boost the Philippine tourism industry and contribute to economic development.

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