First Tourism Jobs Fair
Tourism can lead the Philippine economy to an accelerated growth given the right focus and priority, a senior economist of the Asian Development Bank said.
"If Thailand can attract 12 to 13 million foreign tourists, I don't see any reason why the Philippines cannot," said ADB economist Jesus Felipe.
The ADB said the country's gross domestic product would most likely grow by 5.0 percent in 2006 and 5.3 percent in 2007, but such growth could accelerate until 2010.
Felipe said tourism is a promising sector that could be a provider of growth for the Philippines.
Given the right infrastructure and training, he said, the Philippines can make tourism a major industry such as in Carribean countries Puerto Rico, Cuba and Costa Rica.
While international tourist arrivals in the Philippines surged by 14.5 percent to a historic high 2.623 million in 2005 from 2.291 million in 2004, such figure was way below the more than ten million tourists visiting its neighbors such as Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said that in the first two months of 2006, arrivals grew further by 17 percent to more than 500,000, the highest in record, which in turn has created jobs for the Filipinos. The target for the year is 3 million foreign tourists.
In the First Tourism Jobs Fair at the Philippine International Convention Center, Durano said more than 34,000 jobs are available to college graduates in Manila, Cebu and Davao in the first quarter of 2006 alone.
Thousands of fresh college graduates in search of jobs have gathered at the Forum of PICC to apply for jobs at 321 companies that include airlines, shipping and transport firms, hotels, restaurants, resorts and destinations, travel agencies, tour operators, shopping centers, banks, food processors, telecom firms, call centers, tourism-oriented property developers, and government offices and corporations.
Jobs vacancies offered include those for hotel and restaurant positions, chefs, waiters, bakers, housekeeping supervisors, therapists, chambermaids, account executives, executive assistants, airline staff, food service attendants, customer service agents, inbound tour supervisors, domestic cargo staff, sales consultants, graphic artists, fitness trainers, business development managers, welders, masons, among others.
Durano said the Tourism Jobs Fair (TJF) is the first industry-specific jobs fair exclusive to the travel and tourism industry in the whole of Asia.
Application is also available online via www.tourismjobs.ph where applicants are given unique identification number upon completing the registration process.
According to the International Labor Organization, some 887,000 individuals are directly employed in the travel and tourism sector in the Philippines, while another 2.271 million indirectly benefit from the sector.
However, Durano conceded that the government's target of attracting 5 million tourists by 2010 will require an enormous increase in the country's tourism capacity in terms of infrastructure, accommodation and resort facilities, which will create more jobs in the process.
The country's current capacity is only for three million foreign visitors a year. Industry players admit that new investments are needed to increase this capacity to accommodate the target of 5 million international visitors by 2010 and significantly boost employment in the country.