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Today is an exciting day as we lead one of the biggest summits on tourism and entrepreneurship. Go Negosyo and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Philippines, in partnership with the Department of Tourism and the Tourism Promotions Board, supported by our business chamber partners such as Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, are hosting the Tourism Summit 2019 at the World Trade Center, Pasay City.
As I mentioned in my previous articles, we are promoting the three pillars for inclusive growth. These are tourism, agriculture, and digitalization. We believe that tourism, if promoted and supported with development programs, will be one of the greatest drivers of economic growth.
This summit will become a solid platform for discussion and reflection on what ASEAN countries have done to develop the tourism industry across the region. Whilst the Philippines is blessed with abundant natural resources and islands which can be used in creating enterprises and livelihood opportunities for our countrymen, we want the summit to inspire aspiring and existing entrepreneurs and help them contribute to the booming tourism economy. This will be an avenue for new learnings that can bring inclusive growth for all.
I have been asked in interviews as to why we have invited ASEAN experts when we can work on our tourism sector amongst ourselves. Aside from sharing expertise and insights with them, we also want to promote ASEAN as a strong regional bloc that is favored globally. Tourists do not fly to Europe just to see Paris or travel to America just to visit one state. We want travelers to go to the Philippines, then Thailand, Cambodia and other ASEAN countries. Because this is the inclusivity that we want to achieve – growing together through sustainable tourism.
More than 10,000 delegates from the tourism sector, micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs), aspiring entrepreneurs, and the academe will be in attendance. We are glad to gather more than 100 mayors, governors, and representatives from different cities and municipalities across the Philippines. Aside from this, ambassadors together with some of the Cabinet members, lawmakers and governors will also grace the event.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Anthony Fernandes, ASEAN BAC 2019 chair Arin Jira, and Ayala Corp. CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala are just some of the speakers who will join the summit today.
Samie Lim who leads the committee on tourism of PCCI, has shared with us the 5As of tourism which will also be discussed.. These 5As are arrivals, access, accommodation, attractions, and activities which will contribute to sustainable tourism.
We have invited close to 60 top-notch speakers, interveners, moderators, and hosts from the international and local setting to address the importance of the tourism industry in empowering Filipino MSMEs, as well as narrowing the gap among ASEAN countries in achieving sustainable socio-economic growth in the ASEAN region.
This is one way of mobilizing the range of mentorship here in the Philippines. Mentorship is an asset to the growth and acceleration of an economy and the advancement of the MSMEs’ budding industry.
While we strongly advocate mentorship here in our country, our flagship project in ASEAN Business Advisory Council, the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN), which was pioneered during our chairmanship in 2017, is continuously moving forward.
We launched AMEN during our chairmanship because we know that in order to achieve inclusive growth, we must equip all MSMEs, through mentorship. This is the legacy that we want to create – a network of mentors who will guide our MSMEs.
Last January, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council received approval of AMEN from the Japanese government through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and moving forward, the programs under AMEN will soon be supported and funded by JAIF for a duration of nine months. This is one of the major developments for AMEN aside from being launched in different countries including Australia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.
The AMEN program is a testimony to the importance of leveraging knowledge, expertise and business acumen of successful business leaders and entrepreneurs as potent tools for developing MSEs, a sector that generally struggles during the first three years of operation. It also affirms the effectiveness of our very own mentorship program, the Kapatid Mentor Micro- Enterprises (KMME) program, which Go Negosyo has been implementing since 2017 in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry.
On the side note, after today’s summit, ASEAN BAC PH will hold a regional discussion on AMEN tomorrow, May 3 to discuss the training framework for both mentors and entrepreneurs.
The regional discussion meeting which will be attended by delegates from ASEAN member states to discuss the work plan for the mentorship and training of mentors. Members of the delegations look forward to creating a technical working group that will strengthen the AMEN program.
Together with my co-members in the ASEAN BAC, we will continue to make initiatives that will strengthen the network of entrepreneurs across the region!