TOURISM AND TERRORISM

Tourism Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre

 

THE words terrorism and tourism may sound like a perfect rhyme, but they bring about contrasting meanings and effects especially in the case of our country’s travel competitiveness ranking.

This after the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index reported that terrorism has been pulling down the country’s travel and tourism sector causing it to slide five places to 79th spot out of 136 countries.

Also, the country got a very low overall score of 3.6 and of the 14 pillars considered, it was on safety and security that the Philippines got its lowest rank kicking it down to 126th place which is at the bottom end of the spectrum.

It is a fact that tourism industry is among the first casualties whenever there are threats or actual terrorist attacks.

After all, who would want to visit a country no matter how beautiful it is when lawlessness and chaos prevail?

The bigger problem however is when our government officials seem to refuse to admit the real situation and instead opt to downplay     the same.

Take Tourism Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre as an example. To recall, when the copycat ad of McCann Worldgroup Philippines “Experience the Philippines” tourism ad initially came into a fore, it was Alegre who first declared that they are standing by the company and its product.

We all know what happened later. They cancelled the contract with the ad firm after a strong public clamor.

After the McCann fiasco, Alegre this time is saying that the nation is starting to get safer especially with the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao to belie reports that terrorism is dragging down tourism in the country.

This paper however believes that it would serve the country in good stead if our government officials would rather call a spade a spade and then work hard to solve the problem.

Otherwise, if they will continue to downplay the real situation through their glowing press releases, then this government is no different from the past Aquino regime.

Alegre and his likes would do the country a great service if they will depart from the style that the past regime had adopted, after all, all is not yet lost for the tourism industry.

In fact, the country’s potential for travel and tourism remains high but some interventions are needed and certainly distorting the truth is not one of them.

For starters, our law enforcers and government forces must convince the world that they have the ability to keep the tourists safe and that the country is a safe travel destination.

That might be a tall order for our men in uniform but we have to start somewhere for us to reach our desired destination, especially since we all know that tourism and terrorism do not mix. 

 

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Sunday, 23 September 2018
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