There is a need to enhance the Halal industry as well as the flow of cargo among members of the Brunei-Indonesia-Philippines-East Asean Growth (BIMP-EAGA) area to boost their connectivity, a tourism industry leader said Wednesday.
At the Wednesdays @ Habi at Kape – Abreeza, Mary Ann M. Montemayor, honorary consul of Hungary and former chair of the sub-region’s tourism industry council, said the lack of connectivity between the Philippines and the rest of the sub-region has been hounding it since its establishment in 1994.
“We are at the losing end because the other countries are connected by land, so if there is a country that should lobby (for) connectivity, it is us,” Montemayor said, adding that the country has been struggling in its participation in the sub-region because airline companies have been facing the difficulty of making money if they decide to mount flights between Mindanao and the rest of the sub-region.
She said that to make the routes profitable, cargoes must exist, not just passenger traffic. “Airlines would rather have cargo. Passenger load may give them a better picture like for mobility but businesswise, they are looking at cargo loads. This is where businessmen come in.”
Montemayor also assured that “tourism (industry) players continue to sell, continue to participate in travel shows, and do their share (in) promotions.”
Another sector that will help sustain connectivity, she added, is the Halal industry.
“During our days, they were silent about Halal. That was 20 years ago when we were still so active with our tourism networking with them. But now, there is an awareness among the players that we have to promote Halal and Halal practitioners,” she said.
“We are Mindanao and if there is any region, Mindanaoans should really embrace and patronize Halal practice,” she added.
According to Montemayor, establishment of Halal-friendly establishments would attract Muslim tourists to come to the city.
She said the Halal industry “not as the future of the industry but the now.”
“The number of Halal certified business has been growing and continues to grow,” she said.