Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tourism that generates jobs in my District - Toff de Venecia

Q & A: Northern Watch’s political columnist Mortz C. Ortigoza sits with Pangasinan 4th District congressional aspirant Christopher “Toff” de Venecia on his thoughts about the implications of his programs particularly on tourism in the four towns and one city’s district.Excerpts:

NORTHERN WATCH (NW):    You mentioned in some news items that your tourism projects will spike livelihood that will benefit your constituents in the Fourth Congressional District, do you have any projections on the number of direct and indirect jobs that would be created by that projects?

CHRISTOPHER DE VENECIA (TOFF): The goal of our tourism plan is to generate jobs and livelihood for our constituents. 
In 2014, Secretary Mon Jimenez said that about 4.7 million individuals are directly employed in the tourism sector. He added that there’s one direct employee who benefits from one tourist in the country, excluding indirect suppliers of food, like farmers, drivers, and tour guides. Tourism is really an engine of economic growth, not to mention, inclusive growth.    
In fact, a report from NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) stated that in our country, the tourism industry contributes an average of 9.68 percent to employment. However, legislators are not businessmen, who could easily project the result of these ventures.
A congressman’s role is to make laws.  In this case, I will propose legislations that will create a sound business climate for tourism and business ventures to enter our district. Another is by inclusion of funding for our pet projects in the General Appropriations. Interagency cooperation among government agencies such as DoT Department of Tourism, TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Infrastructure Zone Authority), provincial government and city/municipal governments will also be crucial in making these dreams come to life, not to mention partnerships with the private sector.

      NW: First District Congressman Jesus Celeste told me in his residence in Bolinao town that an international airport in the nearby Alaminos City will phenomenally spike the patronage of tourists of the pristine beach, resorts, and hotels in his town. He said a casino there would cater to Chinese and Taiwanese clients that would give unimaginable revenues to his town. 
Are you in favor for another casino to be built in the Fourth District in case the airport in Alaminos City becomes a reality? 

TOFF: I deeply respect Congressman Celeste's ideas for development and tourism in his district. But for the Fourth District, guided by the love of our Lady of Manaoag, perhaps a casino might not be the best way to move forward. 

My thrust is to turn our District into a major tourist destination and a hub for modern agriculture, and we have all the potential to do just that. An agritourism hub in San Jacinto, an ecotourism hub in San Fabian, a wellness tourism hub in Mangaldan, a pilgrimage tourism hub in Manaoag, and a modern tourism hub in Dagupan.

My mom’s legislation to officially declare Manaoag as a pilgrimage site and a tourist destination is already in the Senate. If that would be by-passed by the 16th Congress, I will make certain that it will be signed into law in the 17th Congress. The legislation alone would make Manaoag the pilgrimage tourism hub of the North. 

Dagupan City with its Bangus Festival, city museum, fishing village, river cruise, historical infrastructure, and many other exciting features will be transformed into a modern tourism hub, not to mention that Dagupan is proud home to several of our National Artists such as (Victorio) Edades and Badong Bernal.

As with the rules of marketing, we should have a unique selling proposition. Let's harness what is unique to our district and build on that.

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