Pimentel: PH experiencing ‘tourism renaissance’ despite negative news
First published: 8:53 p.m., June 21, 2017
Trumpeting the Duterte administration’s efforts to build infrastructure that supports tourism, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said on Wednesday that the Philippines had been experiencing a “tourism renaissance.”
Pimentel made the statement at the opening of the 6th United Nations World World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) International Conference on Tourism Statistics in Manila.
He said the Duterte administration, with the help the Congress, was bullish on supporting the tourism industry.
“The Philippines is experiencing a renaissance of sorts in our tourism industry,” Pimentel said. “Notwithstanding the negative news of late about our country, more and more tourists are coming to experience for themselves our country’s beauty and culture.”
The senator also assured conference delegates that the security and terrorism situation in the country was being addressed by the government.
“I wish to assure our foreign delegates that the situation in Mindanao that led to the declaration of martial law in that region is a temporary situation,” he said. “The President simply utilized the power granted to him by the Constitution to protect the people of Mindanao from rebellion.”
He expressed hope that the more tourists would visit the southern part of the country amid intensified efforts from the government to flush out terrorists in the region.
Now on its 29th day, the fighting in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur has resulted in the death of hundreds and displacement of thousands of civilians.
“I am confident that once this crisis is over, we will have peace and security in the region that will result with more tourists visiting Southern Philippines,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel also expressed his support for sustainable tourism, citing the policies laid out by Congress to oversee and monitor tourism activities in the country.
“Tourism is a priority development area that deserves greater attention. Focus now should not be on how much money it can contribute to government coffers but rather on how it can improve the overall well-being of people,” he said.
He acknowledged the socio-economic dimension of tourism but cautioned: “We do need the tourist dollars, but not at the expense of a polluted environment, denuded forests, or displaced indigenous groups.”
“Tourism is a vehicle for poverty reduction, a tool for environmental conservation, an impulse for cultural heritage preservation, and an avenue for strengthening people to people relationships,” he said. /atm
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