Gov’t to form separate perks body for firms into tourism

Published by rudy Date posted on July 2, 2009

The government will likely splurge on tax breaks to projects that would be listed under the proposed Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) of the newly signed Republic Act 9593 also known as the National Tourism Policy Act of 2009.

At the sidelights of the opening day of the Philippine International Franchise Conference and Expo 2009 held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel yesterday, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) vice president for tourism affairs Samie Lim said the government is thinking of offering a different set of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives under Tieza that will be a counterpart of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).

The tax holidays alone could be extended to more than six years but he declined to provide other details pending the completion of the IRR.

This means all tourism-related activities will have to be registered with Tieza and no longer with Peza.

Declaring the national policy for tourism was aimed at strengthening the country’s tourism industry through increased in investments and employment, economic growth and development.

It would also serve as a major challenge to the Department of Tourism (DoT) to turn the country into a world-class tourism destination.

The new law is expected to be in full implementation before the end of the year through the IRR that would pave the way for the abolition of existing units attached to the (DoT).

Tourism arms such as the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corp. will be reorganized to be known as the Tourism Promotions Board, the PTA which is the assets management arm of DoT as Tieza, and the Duty Free Philippines as the Duty Free Philippines Corp.

With the private sector participation in the crafting of the IRR, Lim said a major task of the government will be shared by the private sector.

He added that the private sector aims to hit about 8 million in foreign travelers by 2015 that would translate to an additional jobs estimated to reach more than 10 million.

Lim explained the role of the private sector in creating the guidelines that would ensure pro-business types of programs, and to be more developmental. He added under the new law, the private sector acts as the tourism marketing group.

According to Lim, the government has already allowed the private sector to tap the P1 billion standby fund of the Export Development Council to finance his proposed promotions abroad through advertisements.

“The proposed marketing activity has been identified by the government as one of the priority projects for EDC funding,” he added.

This is because tourism is 90 percent local content, “all the money goes to the local economy, while exported products have only 10 percent local content,” he added. –Ayen Infante, Daily Tribune

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