Press Release
February 8, 2007


It was a long and tedious journey, but all the work we put into this law makes it all worth it. At 2:30 in the morning today, the Senate passed on third reading its version of the Tourism Bill. Senator Richard J. Gordon, the author of the bill, said that the passage of the bill facilitates the collaboration of both Houses of Congress to finally come out with a law that will immensely support the tourism industry.

Tourism means jobs for Filipino people. The industry has an immense impact on an economy. Every foreign tourist spends 50,000 pesos in shopping, eating, touring and staying at resorts. On an average year, 2.6 million foreign tourists give our economy 130 billion pesos. That 130 billion pesos generates jobs across the board, from the ordinary street vendor to the hotel magnate, said Senator Gordon .

To make this possible, we need to have just three fundamental reforms in the tourism sector. These reforms are at the heart of the Tourism Act of 2007, namely: (1) to uplift the standards of tourism services, (2) to aggressively promote our tourism industrys strong points and (3) to develop existing and new tourism destinations in the Philippines. We must remember that tourism is a global business. We have to be world class, explained Sen. Gordon.

Under the Senate version, the Tourism Economic Zone Authority (TEZA) will be organized to be in charge of getting investors to develop the tourism zones. The TEZA will likewise provide tax and other incentives to investors in the tourism industry. Among these are: tax and duty-free importation of imported goods for sale and capital equipment utilized by the investors.

Empowering the tourism sector will ensure that government remains accountable to the sector it serves. This means that we will have different government agencies working together in building the physical and legal infrastructure to make the Philippines more accessible to global tourism, said Senator Gordon.

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