Philippines tourism gallops ahead despite natural setbacks

Published on : Monday, January 13, 2014

Philippines-despite-natural-setbacksIn spite of all the natural calamites hitting the archipelago the Philippine tourism sector continues to move forward, as more local and foreign tourists explore the country’s top attractions that are written about in prestigious travel magazines, talked about in travel fairs, and online choices which are an indication of the confidence of the global market in the Philippines as a friendly tourist destination.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) estimates that tourism receipts or money spent by foreign visitors in 2013 reached $4.95 billion, and will increase to $6.07 billion in 2014. The tourism sector is confident that it was able to reach the five million tourist arrivals target for 2013, citing the record four million foreign tourists in first nine months of the past year, and the flag carrier’s resumption of direct flights between Manila and some European cities.

From January 1 to December 5, 2013, the Bureau of Immigration reported that South Korea topped visitor arrivals with 1,010,056, followed by the United States of America with 649,664; Japan, 371,122; and China, 312,395. Other countries among the top 10 tourist markets were Australia, 181,585; Canada, 123,404; Taiwan 101,162; Singapore, 97,927; United Kingdom, 97,371; and Malaysia, 97,134.

The authorities are working to improve tourism-related infrastructure, develop tourist destinations, and enter into more tie-ups with countries on air seat agreements to reach its goal of 10 million tourists by 2016. In domestic tourism, the bedrock of Philippine tourism, the goal of 35.5 million travelers for 2016 had been exceeded as early as 2011 when it hit 37.5 million, the DOT said. DOT, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Department of Transportation and Communications partner to improve connectivity infrastructure (roads, airports and seaports) leading to priority tourist spots. The government strengthens the aviation industry and targets to have more airports capable of receiving international flights by 2016 to cater to a robust tourism industry.

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