The 46th APEC Tourism Working Group (TWG) Meeting will be opened by Lead Shepherd Javier Esteban Guillermo Molina, Chief of the International Affairs and Cooperation Unit of APEC. The Philippine Department of Tourism, represented by Assistant Secretary Rolando Canizal will deliver the welcome remarks.
Select member countries will be reporting on agenda items which include priorities of APEC for 2015, the TWG’s annual work plan, and its strategic plan for 2015-2019.
The group will likewise report on specific initiatives such as travel facilitation, connectivity, and mainstreaming of ocean issues. Moreover, the group will report on three ongoing TWG projects: The Philippines on An Assessment of the Role of Taxation in Promoting Travel and Tourism Growth in the APEC Region; Thailand on Developing Air Connectivity in the APEC Region and Russia on Developing Smart Traveller Programmes to Facilitate International Travel in the APEC Region.
Other reports will be on the current state of the travel and tourism industry in the 21 member countries, on key issues and trends impacting tourism, as well as on small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
On the module on SMEs, the Philippines will be reporting on its One Step Project (OSP), a partnership of the DOT with the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which seeks to improve the lives of the poor with more direct interventions through tourism.
The OSP is a move to include the poor at the start of the development process and integrate communities in the tourism value chain, i.e. enroll them in tourism enterprises either as part of a destination community or a supplier community. The report will share the updates since its inception in 2013 and highlight the success stories for potential replication.
The Conference on Enhancing Tourism Competitiveness in the APEC Region Through Alignment of Tourism and Taxation Policies is the implementation of the first of the three TWG projects aforementioned. The conference will be attended by senior tourism and finance officials from the APEC region, officials and members of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), international tourism associations, select local government executives and local tourism industry leaders.
More specifically, the conference will assess the impact of current taxation measures as well as their changes over time in relation to travel and tourism demand, revenues and job growth. It will likewise provide a comparative analysis of taxation levels in the industry versus taxes on other key sectors towards ensuring a fair and equitable treatment of taxation across industries in the region. It will also endeavor to develop policies and programs, which can be pursued by the TWG or senior finance officials to support the growth and development of tourism in the APEC region.
Seasoned speakers will share their expertise on four main sessions that focus on: 1) the economic impact of taxation on travel and tourism growth, 2) maximizing visitor expenditure through better taxation, 3) business efficiency and growth, and, 4) stimulating tourism promotion and investments.
“APEC 2015 is an important part of Visit the Philippines Year (VPY) 2015 as we welcome our friends from all over the world to experience the exciting offerings for MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions), leisure, and other tourism activities in the country. It is also a great opportunity for Filipinos to show off our brand of hospitality. But more importantly, as responsible members of the APEC family, we are all coming together to consciously, consensually, and constantly build inclusive economies for a better world,” Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. said.