Press Release
November 12, 2008

Gordon urges Congress leaders to pass national tourism bill

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today reiterated his call on his colleagues in the Lower House to expedite the passage of the administration-sponsored national tourism policy bill which seeks to create "tourism zones" in strategic areas in the country.

Gordon renewed his call as he thanked President Arroyo for the continued inclusion of the national tourism bill among the eight priority measures she wants Congress to enact into law in order to help protect the country's economy from the global financial crisis.

"I thank President Arroyo for her continued support to the national tourism policy bill. I'm optimistic that my colleagues in the House would all be fired up to act on the measure and pass it before the end of the year," he said.

"Its enactment into law would definitely boost domestic tourism as it will provide the needed infrastructures to reinvigorate local productivity. An increased productivity means more jobs for the people and more revenues for the government," he added.

Gordon, who chairs the Senate tourism committee, has been calling House leaders to immediately pass a counterpart bill of the Senate's Tourism Act of 2008 (Senate Bill 2213), which has been passed on third and final reading last June 11.

SB 2213's counterpart consolidated measure is logged as House Bill 5229 authored by Speaker Prospero Nograles, Reps. Edgar Chatto, Juan Edgardo Angara, which has been passed on second reading last Oct. 6.

Gordon, also a former tourism secretary, said the country would greatly benefit from a reinvigorated domestic tourism, thereby making local government units to be more self-reliant in promoting their respective localities' rich history and culture.

With international travels seen to lessen due to the global financial crisis, Gordon said this economic slowdown should prompt the local tourism and hospitality industries to be bullish with their promotions of domestic tourism.

SB 2213 seeks to declare a national policy for tourism as an engine of investment, employment, growth and national development. It also aims to reorganize the tourism department and its attached agencies to effectively and efficiently implement that policy.

It also seeks for the establishment of "tourism enterprise zones" in strategic areas, such as Cebu, Davao, Bohol, Laguna, Cavite, Boracay, Palawan and Iloilo, in the country to lure foreign investors and tourists to visit places rich with history and culture.

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