Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed elation over the improvement of Philippine tourism competitiveness in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Competitiveness Report 2015, saying the DOLE’s support to the country’s tourism development through the new Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS) continues with vigor, with more tourism sites to be declared labor laws compliant in the coming months.
“We have declared five tourist destinations labor laws compliant—Guimaras Is.; Boracay Is.; Camiguin Is.; Dinagat Is.; and Siargao Islands. We are set to declare more in the coming months. Our regional offices are helping establishments in prime tourist spots become compliant with all labor laws, occupational safety and health regulations and standards, and anti-child labor laws before we can declare a tourism destination labor laws compliant and before we can unveil a marker,” she said.
“Baler in Aurora and Vigan in Ilocos Sur will be next,” she added.
Last week, the World Economic Forum released its Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 where it ranked the Philippines 74th out of 141 countries in tourism competitiveness, an 8-notch jump from its previous (20013) ranking of 82nd. It noted that the Philippines scored very high in “price competitiveness and prioritization of travel and tourism and international openness”.
According to Baldoz, since last year when the Labor Laws Compliance System, or LLCS, was fully implemented, the DOLE, has been jointly assessing the compliance of business establishments in the country’s numerous tourist destinations with the end in view of declaring these establishments—and thus, the tourism destinations—labor laws compliant tourist destinations. In each destination, the DOLE posts a marker for all visitors to see.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez is very supportive of the DOLE move, saying this is good for visitors, workers and their employers.
“With these declaration and these markers, we hope to tell the world that business establishments catering to our providing products and services to visitors are paying their works the correct wages and benefits and that they are safe and healthy in their respective workplaces,” Baldoz explained.
“Thus, we expect more tourists to come,” she added.
About 4.9 million tourists visited the country in 2014, 3.2 percent more than tourist arrivals in 2013. It is estimated that a single tourist spends US$1,000 while in the country, half of this for accommodation services and food and beverages. “More tourists mean more jobs,” Baldoz said.
Under the LLCS, business establishments, including tourism establishments, are jointly-assessed for their compliance with all labor laws and are issued Certificates of Compliance, if found compliant.
In case of deficiency, the DOLE, through the country’s 574 Labor Laws Compliance Officers (LLCOs), provide them technical advisory services and assistance for immediate correction and submission plans to effect full compliance.