The Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Tourism (DOT) made substantial headway on the Philippines’ MSME Action Agenda during the recently concluded Tourism Working Group (TWG) meeting, where the agencies reiterated the inclusion of activities and cross-fora collaboration on the tourism sector’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the group’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2019.
During the meeting, DTI Assistant Secretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo explained that, “The tourism sector plays a strategic role in providing the proof-of-concept in what we are trying to achieve in trade. More than any sector, tourism is a natural platform to mainstream MEs and SMEs whether they provide services in destinations or supply products to tourism markets.”
Rodolfo cited best practices that support MSMEs in the tourism sector such as Philippines’ first FabLab or Fabrication Laboratory in Bohol. The Fablab caters to MSMEs and produces scale models of all types of designs, producing prototypes of products that help MSMEs generate high-value and high-quality products for Bohol’s tourism industry. Other government programs include the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SET-UP) which encourages and assists MSMEs to adopt technological innovations to grow their businesses to meet the demands of their clients here and abroad as well as the LINCS or Leveraging Industries for Supply Chain program which promotes tourism value chains and strengthens the supply chains catering to the tourism industry.
“These initiatives have resulted to success stories, proving that the country’s MSME programs are indeed effective in enhancing MSME capacity to compete. These proof points will also help us in realizing the adoption of the Boracay Action Agenda to globalize MSMEs which DTI Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, and APEC 2015 Ministerial Chair, will present at the Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Meeting,” added Rodolfo.
According to DOT Assistant Secretary Rolando Alan Canizal, “One of the visions of this year’s TWG is to foster sustainable and inclusive growth for the APEC region which takes cognizance of the role of MSMEs in the development of the tourism value chains.”
He stated that the TWG will be conducting a policy study on how the APEC economies can better provide support and strategies for MSMEs that are engaged in tourism.
MSMEs account 80-90% of the total tourism value chains in APEC member economies. In the Philippines, it is considered the backbone of local tourism sector, dominating all industry sectors and employing 2.9 million people which is equivalent to 38% of the total employment contribution of all enterprises.
“It is a critical component of the overall inclusive tourism agenda to build up their competitiveness, sustainability, and expand their market reach through e-commerce” said Canizal. He added that the study is expected to be finalized by early next year, in time for APEC 2016 hosting of Peru, which will have a ‘Conference on Micro and Small Enterprises’ wherein a greater discussion on best practices of global MSMEs will take place.
According to Rodolfo and Canizal, the Philippines will pull out all the stops as host economy to push the MSME action agenda. They said that close coordination between the DTI and DOT will sustain the contribution and increase potential value of tourism, particularly in making MSMEs in APEC more competitive.
Posted By: Edrillan Pasion