Economic Policy Reform and Advocacy (EPRA) and Action for Economic Reforms (AER) will be holding the fourth discussion of “Building up the Philippines: A Discussion Series on Philippine Infrastructure Development.” It will be on September 3, Monday, 12 noon at Room 404, Ateneo Professional Schools, Rockwell Center, Makati City. This time, we will take a look at tourism and infrastructure.

The Philippine Medium Term Development Program (PMTDP) 2004-2010 states that tourism “deserves to be a top priority for national development” because it creates strong peripheral benefits” in terms of increased infrastructure spending, “catalyzing entrepreneurship” and “improving the image of the country in international trade and investment”. reports that the Tourism department’s (DOT) P90-million 2006 budget had a return-on-investment of US$2.43 billion, roughly 2% of the total GDP. Tourism officials also report an 8.8 % increase in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006. However, DOT Sec. Joseph Ace Durano admits the need to improve tourism-related infrastructure in the country. The PMTDP specifies that roads, bridges, airports, seaports serving as “gateways to tourism complexes” need to be rehabilitated, constructed, and upgraded.

What is keeping us from achieving these goals? Are there other things that need to be addressed?

To give us her views on these matters, EPRA and AER have invited Ms. Narzalina Lim as main speaker. Ms Lim has four decades of experience in the tourism industry. As Undersecretary of Tourism from 1987-89, she was responsible for policy, planning and development.  She became Secretary of the department from 1989-92. President Fidel Ramos retained her as Undersecretary throughout his term. Currently, she is with the Asia Pacific Projects Inc., a specialized tourism consulting firm that provides management consulting, human resources development, and marketing services to investors, operators, and public sector policy makers in the fast growing Asia-Pacific region.

For more information about the series, go here.