By Arjay L. Balinbin, July 10 2019; Business World

Image Credit to Philippine Star

THE Department of Tourism (DoT) said Wednesday that the street cleanup and crackdown on illegal vendors in the city of Manila, initiated by Mayor Francisco Moreno Domagoso, is expected to boost the city’s status as a “shopping paradise” for Southeast Asian visitors.

In an economic briefing at the Palace on Wednesday morning, DoT Assistant Secretary Roberto P. Alabado, who represented Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, noted that Manila has always been a premiere tourist destination.

“When tourists come here, immediately upon landing, they come to certain sites here in Manila. They go to Intramuros, they go to Luneta, Rizal Park, Binondo. Some even, especially Asians, go to Divisoria. These are areas where it’s simply a shopping paradise for some of our SEA (Southeast Asian) tourists,” he said.

He said the efforts of the newly-elected Manila Mayor “are very much appreciated” in making those areas “more accessible” to tourists because the Tourism department is aiming to provide visitors with “more diverse tourist offerings” in Manila.

“So just imagine if our tourists can walk around the streets of Manila and at the same time enjoy the food in Binondo, enjoy the shopping in Divisoria, in a more organized manner,” Mr. Alabado added.

As for the relocation of street vendors, Mr. Alabado said Ms. Puyat has ordered the Tourism department’s regional office in the National Capital Region to “work closely” with the Mayor’s office to “coordinate their efforts.”

“This is a local thing, the relocation of our street vendors, but as we have always said, the more tourists that we can provide access to Divisoria, to Binondo and Intramuros, the more economic activities that can be spurred from those local destinations,” he added.

“We will be having our coordination meetings with the Office of the Mayor of Manila and we will be updating you on this in the future,” he also said. — Arjay L. Balinbin