HB 6646 or the proposed “National Tourism Heritage Act of 2017” is authored by Rep. Salvador Belaro (Party-list, Ang Edukasyon).
The bill declares it is the State policy to promote a tourism industry that is ecologically sustainable, responsible, participative, culturally sensitive, and economically viable.
It mandates that all tourism sites in the country shall be identified by the placement in conspicuous places therein of heritage markers each of which shall contain a brief description of such tourism site.
Such tourism heritage markers may include the construction of suitable waiting sheds, gazebos, and other facilities where promotion materials can be placed.
The bill mandates to the Department of Tourism (DoT) to ensure the identification and placement of markers in all tourism sites in the country.
An initial amount of P100 million necessary to carry out the provision of the Act shall be included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of the year following the bill's enactment into law and thereafter.
The DoT, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), shall formulate the implementing rules and regulations of the Act.
Belaro noted an increase of visitor arrivals by 19.60 percent in May 2017 from the prior year, enabling the country to record a total of 532,757 visitor arrivals. He said there is an increasing need to support the government for it to continue its concomitant income generation for the country.
Aside from the lack of appropriate infrastructure, specifically good roads and bridges leading to tourist destinations, Belaro cited that the lack of recognition and support from government is also one of the drawbacks that hinder tourism development in the country.