The current year is a perfect time for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to engage in tourism-related businesses “to actively help attract international investors to the country,” the Department of Tourism said.



DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Regulation, Coordination and Resource Generation (TRCRG) Alma Rita Jimenez noted the impact of global travel and tourism, and increased international visitor arrivals encouraged foreign investors to do business in the Philippines.



“You’ll have the confidence that when you put your resources in our shores, you can park your funds with us for a long term because it will give you steady and stable returns,” she said.



Dr. Aekapol Chongvilaivan from the Asian Development Bank, meanwhile, provided an overview of the current financial status of the Philippines, dubbing the country as a “rising star in Asia” due to the rapid growth of its investment-driven economy.



During the first Invest Tourism Philippines forum titled, “The Next Big Thing in Asia,” hosted by the DOT in Manila, Chongvilaivan said tourism should serve as a major economic engine, with emphasis on fiscal management, infrastructure development, and unemployment.



Plenary sessions participated in by representatives from government and private sectors addressed issues confronting the tourism industry, and encouraged multilateral partnership and community involvement to achieve collective growth.



It was also stressed that Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based innovation is imperative in order to enhance connectivity, and to monitor customer feedbacks, as well as enhance product endorsement and branding.



The panel also tackled the processes of getting financial assistance, of collaterals being hindrances for MSMEs in getting loans, of facilities and programs giving local businesses access to information and business mentors, of partnerships, and community-wide development. (PNA)