Baguaio, the Next Florida Destination

In preparation for the Philippine tourism industry’s growth in the coming years, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has formulated a series of measures to strengthen the capacity of its existing and upcoming programmes. One of these measures is to upgrade and modernize the existing POEA or the Philippine Overseas Enterprise. The Philippine Overseas Enterprise (POEA) programme is presently undergoing various stages of development, all aimed to meet the requirements of both the Government and the private sector. One such measure is to further enhance the services and amenities provided by the POEA to the general public, in order to help the industry establish a solid base in the country.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and the POEA Board of Directors (the members of which are the Secretary of Tourism and the General Manager of the Philippine Islands Development Authority) have recently launched a memorandum circular on January 13th, titled “MBA Guidelines on Tourism Enhancement”. This circular outlines the procedures and policies that will be taken effect from now on in order to facilitate the development and expansion of the Philippine tourism industry. Among the measures included in this circular are measures to standardise the rules and structures governing the admissions and immunizations of Filipino citizens in foreign tourist facilities, and in foreign resorts and destinations in the Philippines. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs is also recommending that the POEA become a member of the Philippine Travel Franchising Corporation (PTCF). The aim of this move is to promote the growth of the tourism industry in the country.

The circular also offers assistance to the Philippine Overseas Enterprise in its bid to become a member of the Miami-Dade County’s tourism board, the Florida Destination Industry Association (FDIA), which handles the tourism sector in the county. The move is part of the government’s strategy to expand the footprint of its businesses in other US cities, particularly in Florida. The proposed association will require the Philippine Enterprise to join the FDIA, a body with over one hundred member companies in over seventy counties across Florida. There is no precise estimate as to how many jobs the expansion of the Baguio airport could generate for the people of Baguaio, but it is clear that the county’s tourism sector needs the backing of the United States government. It is hoped that the new member of the POEA will encourage more US tourists to visit the Philippines and increase the number of Philippine visitors in Florida, making the state a more popular destination for international tourists.

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