Veteran tourism exec takes over scandal-rocked Tourism Promotions Board

Marie Venus Q. Tan

A CAREER government official  has been appointed as chief operating officer (COO) of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Marie Venus Q. Tan, who has served in various capacities at the DOT, serves for one year as TPB COO, and took her oath of office from President Duterte on Wednesday.

In an interview with the BusinessMirror, Tan said she was looking forward to working with the TPB staff, “who are professional people with integrity. I’d like to look to the future, move forward, and put those seeming scandals behind us.”

It would be recalled that TPB was once rocked by multi-million scandals under the helm of actor Cesar Montano, including the P320-million Buhay Carinderia project. The TPB Board of Directors had recently resolved to stop the implementation of the project.

But Tan stressed, “Marketing and promotion direction policies will be reviewed in earnest to align and put focus towards putting impetus to the National Tourism Development Plan immediately, and to the pronouncements already made  by the Secretary of Tourism.”

She said her first order of business as COO was to meet with the private stakeholders and leaders in the tourism industry to consult on directions for the promotion of country.

Tourism stakeholders, for their part, welcomed the news of Tan’s appointment to the TPB, which was briefly headed by Arnold T. Gonzales as officer-in-charge, after Montano’s resignation as COO in late May.

Jose Clemente III, president of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines said, “We congratulate Venus Tan on her appointment as COO of the Tourism Promotions Board. We are confident that her vast experience in marketing and promotions will benefit the industry in general, and the TPB in particular. We look forward to working closely with her and her team to further the growth of Philippine tourism.”

Prior to her appointment as TPB COO, Tan was DOT Regional Director for the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and has been instrumental in reviving the region through her urban rehabilitation campaign projects. Foremost of this was the painting of the Stobosa Hillside Homes in La Trinidad, Benguet, which combine into a single artwork, echoing the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Other similar projects include the Project Puraw White Roofs Community Painting Project and the Village Innovation Community Project (Green Roofs Project) in Bocos and Batad, Banaue, Ifugao, respectively.

While regional director for CAR, Tan was able to galvanize partnerships with strategic private sector partners towards implementing projects that fuse agriculture and tourism to enhance value chains. One important partnership was forged with Max’s Group Inc. leading to the sustainable farming and production of the Ifugao Tinowon Rice, which has become an important ingredient in Max’s heirloom dishes.

Such partnership also led to the formulation of the much-needed Strawberry Farms Master Plan. Another is the collaboration with premium coffee supplier Henry & Sons through the Foundation for Sustainable Coffee Excellence that empowers the coffee farmers and producers of Benguet, making them competitive in the global market.

Before her appointment as Regional Director, she served as Tourism Attaché and Regional Coordinator of the DOT for Europe (Frankfurt, Germany, London and United Kingdom) for 15 years. She is considered a pioneer at the TPB (formerly the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corp.), having been one among a select few who were instrumental in crafting and implementing the agency’s Marketing and Promotions Guiding Objectives and Principles. She was also a former Division Chief of the PCVC Europe and the Americas for 13 years and was a Senior Public Relations Officer of the Philippine Tourism Authority (forerunner of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority) for six years.

With her previous foreign posting, her extensive network, knowledge and expertise in international marketing and promotion was instrumental in numerous and unprecedented tourist arrivals to the Philippines by opening new markets, among them Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Spain. She is also credited for conceptualizing the “Dive Philippines!” campaign, as well as initiating charter flights out of Russia and mega familiarization visits to the Philippines.

Concurrent with her position as regional director, Tan was  also National Coordinator for Marketing and Promotion for North Luzon and Palawan.


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