Philippines likely to get 4.5M tourist arrivals in 2012—DoT
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Tourism (DoT) has expressed confidence that the number of foreign visitors to the country will hit at least 4.5 million this year, based on the tourist arrivals in the first half.
The targeted full-year tourist arrivals are higher by nearly 18 percent from the 3.917 million tourists that came to the country in 2011.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. sees a good chance the country can hit an 18-percent growth in tourist arrivals in 2012, citing the encouraging figure for the first semester.
Data from the DoT showed that foreigners who visited the Philippines in the first half totaled 2.14 million, up by 11.68 percent from close to 1.92 million in the same period in 2011.
“The second semester is actually the peak season for tourism. We are well on our way to hitting 4.5 million tourist arrivals,” Jimenez said on Monday, during an economic briefing by the government’s economic team.
Given the popular belief that the Philippines has much room to grow in terms of tourist arrivals and tourism revenues, the Aquino administration has decided to beef up the country’s tourism campaign. The promotion is punctuated by advertisements carrying the tagline “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”
The government considers tourism as one of its priority areas for development, citing the ability of the sector to generate more jobs.
Given the country’s natural resources, officials say sufficient promotion will significantly boost tourist arrivals.
Jimenez said, however, that the government should not be overly aggressive in its promotion. He said the increase in tourist arrivals should be at a pace consistent with the country’s ability to develop sufficient tourism facilities.
He said the country at this point would not be able to accommodate quite a sharp rise in tourist arrivals, pending the full development or upgrading of tourism facilities and infrastructure.
“We are calibrating the demand [for hotel rooms and other tourism facilities] because we might bust the machine,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government has announced plans of the government to significantly boost budget for tourism infrastructure and for training of manpower for the tourism sector.
“We (Department of Tourism) are working closely with Tesda [Technical Education and Skills Development Authority]. We will announce a convergence program for hospitality training,” Jimenez said.
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