Hope this finds you well. My name is Lynda and I’m from OCI Group, a marketing communications company and we are currently working with the Department of Tourism for the Philippines Improving Competitiveness project. As a background, the project was signed in agreement in April 2013 by the Department of Tourism, the Asian Development Bank, and the Government of Canada to increase employment in the tourism sector, which is critical in achieving inclusive growth.
The Philippine government has identified that the shortage of skilled labor and quality of service standards affects the international competitiveness of the tourism sector. In line with the country’s National Tourism Development Plan, which aims to bring in 10 million international visitors and 56 million domestic travellers by 2016, the demand for skilled labor in the tourism sector will continue to rise with new hotel developments requiring skilled labor.
Under the project, four pilot priority tourism destinations were identified — Bohol, Cebu, Davao and Palawan. The project is set to run for 38 months, and is expected to be completed in 2016. Part of the focus of the project is on the Hotel and Resorts Quality Assurance and Accreditation System.
Philippine hotels and resorts in key island destinations are ready to compete in the global marketplace, according to the initial findings of a team of International Accommodation Assessors (IAAs) who joined the Department of Tourism (DOT) in conducting a national review of accommodation standards last month.
The team of IAAs composed of ten experts from different countries said Philippine hotels and resorts including the small players have 'very high standards' in keeping the unique Filipino hospitality, one of the country's competitive advantages.
“The warmth of welcome for guests in all types of accommodation is almost unique among international destinations. There is a real potential for the Philippine tourism industry. Some hotels and resorts need to invest to improve, but the new rating system can help identify where to focus that investment,” the initial report noted.
“Data will be carefully analyzed in order to further strengthen and develop the accommodation standards system and enable us to compete at the highest international levels in the future,” said Undersecretary Jasmin.
Undersecretary Jasmin added, “these new standards will help guide Philippine hotels and resorts on where they could invest to further improve their businesses. They are shown to be equally effective in identifying excellence, enabling the finest properties and managers to show the way for others. The standards clearly identify examples of best practice for use by all types and levels of accommodation.”
Hotel owners and senior managers in all the properties visited welcomed the new set of standards as they see it as a significant improvement on the old standards introduced in 1992. “Owners and managers welcomed the introduction of the internationally understood one to five star grading approach. They understood that not everyone can be, or should be, five stars and that some of the most successful hotels and brands internationally hold two or three stars,” Undersecretary Jasmin said.
Final results of the assessment will be released in September 2014.