Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (center)


Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Sunday said the Department of Tourism has slowly reopened destinations for domestic travel with health and safety protocols in place as countries celebrate World Tourism Day.

“This year’s theme, ‘Tourism and Rural Development’, is particularly relevant to our country as many of our rural areas depend on tourism but have been adversely affected by the pandemic,” Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

She said the “gradual revival of the industry will bring back jobs and livelihoods to the rural areas, where many tourism products — beach, diving, ecotourism, arts and culture, and farm sites — are found”.

Earlier, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said tourism is a vehicle for integration, empowerment, and income generation for rural communities.

Guterres recognized the importance of tourism to a country’s development.

Romulo-Puyat said the Philippine tourism industry has been promoting the inclusive development of the countryside by supporting farmers, indigenous peoples, women, and other marginalized groups through sustainable programs.

“We have been given this time of tourism closure to transform the crisis into an opportunity; a chance to rebuild tourism on the foundation of safety, sustainability, inclusiveness, and resiliency. Let us remain steadfast in our commitment to pursue equitable and responsible growth as the legacy of our industry,” she added. (PNA)