ANTIPOLO City, Sept. 21, 2010—Kabataan Rep. Raymond V. Palatino assailed the Department of Tourism’s “overpriced” website project saying that there are more practical and cost-efficient ways of attracting foreigners in visiting the country.
The DOT proposes to acquire P100-million worth of funds to finance its web development project that will include a 360-degree photography, digital marketing, linkages to partner agencies, up-to-date information on events, hotels, airlines, resorts and the likes.
“We already know that we are always running under a very small budget. Being a department who is always thinking of inventive ways for tourism, such creativity should also be used in finding ways to show more of the country while spending less,” said Palatino.
The young lawmaker said it is intriguing to know they allotted too much to overhaul a website.
“This one portal to rule the world is costly, [and] maintaining a website should not be that costly. But let me clarify that I am not anti-technology, what I am trying to say is that the DOT should consider that the government is skimping on its meager budget,” the lawmaker, who is also an internet buff, said.
On the other hand, the partylist solon said the tourism industry can be boosted by the local tourists alone.
“The bulk of DOT’s budget for promotions is focused on international tourists. This is understandable since the government wants to earn more tourist dollars. But the DOT should not forget that domestic tourism significantly increased this year. This means we can rely on our kababayans to expand the tourism industry. And considering the lingering global financial crisis, we can’t [just] depend too much on foreign markets but encouraged our kababayans to become tourists and visit the different islands of the country,” he said.
Moreover, Palatino scored the DOT’s lack of safeguard to our natural resources and the failure to boost local or domestic tourism.
“Over-exploitation and over-development of our islands have been one of the negative effects of tourism. Take Boracay as an example. The government should implement measures in preserving our pristine natural resources. Promoting tourism to generate dollar revenues must be pursued without destroying our cultural and natural treasures,” explains Palatino.
Furthermore, in light of the recent hostage-taking crisis, the youth solon said that the Philippines should learn the experience of Thailand.
“Thailand suffered more, there were closure of airports, red shirt protesters plaguing the streets yet they pulled it off. We should improve our ground transport, tourism and ICT infrastructures. Most especially, we should improve toilets. We should have new standard of toilets in the country,” said Palatino. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews)