Solons want to establish Int’l Visitor Assistance task force

LAWMAKERS are pushing for the establishment of an inter-governmental task force for international visitor assistance in a bid to make the country a premier travel and tourism destination in the world.

Reps. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga) and Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur) filed House Bill 6602, an act that shall be known as “Visit Philippines Act of 2012.”

The former president said the proposed International Visitor Assistance Task Force shall examine the signage at facilities in the country, ensure the availability of multi-lingual travel and tourism information and establish a toll-free, private sector operated, telephone number.

The task force shall also ensure that signage at airports, seaports, land border crossings, highways as well as bus, train and other public transit locations are properly situated.

“There should be uniform standards on signage for use throughout the Philippines in order to facilitate international visitor’s travel in the country,” said the former chief executive.

The younger Arroyo said a multilingual travel and tourism information will be established to disseminate information at no or minimal cost to the government.

He said the task force shall also establish a toll-free, private sector- operated telephone number to be staffed by multilingual operators and provide assistance to international tourists coping with an emergency.

Under the bill, the task force shall be composed of the Secretary of Tourism, the Secretary of Interior and Local Government, the Secretary of Transportation and Communications and representatives of other government agencies and private sector entities as may be determined appropriate to the mission of the task force by the Tourism Secretary who shall serve as chairman.

The chairman of the task force shall submit to the President and Congress a report on the results of the review, including proposed amendments to existing laws or regulations as may be appropriate.

The task force shall also submit to relevant committees of Congress an annual detailed report consisting of: the manner in which appropriated funds were expended; and changes in the Philippine market share of international tourism in general and as measured against specific countries and regions.

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