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‘MUST-SEE’ TOURISM

DOT aims for 10M visitors

By: - Senior Reporter / @agarciayapCDN
/ 07:39 AM March 24, 2012

The aim is to make the Philippines a “must- experience” destination in Asia.

How will the country do this?

A “clustering strategy” was discussed yesterday in the first of several forums of the Tourism Congress held in Cebu City.

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Cebu is in the Central Visayas Cluster, one of 20 thematic destinations covering 78 priority areas of the Department of Tourism (DOT), which presented its proposed National Tourism Development Plan to stakeholders in the Visayas.

Cebu island remains the country’s top island destination with about 1.6 million foreign and domestic travellers a year.

There will be seven strategic clusters in northern Philippines, six in central Philippines and seven in southern Philippines, said Daniel G. Corpuz, tourism undersecretary for planning and promotions.

He said the strategic vision is to make the Philippines a “must experience” destination in Asia.

For the Central Visayas Tourism Cluster, the plan cites five priority development areas : 1. northern Cebu-Bantayan-Malapascua, 2. Metro Cebu-Mactan-Olango Island; 3. southern Cebu; 4. Negros Oriental-Dumaguete-Siquijor, and 5. Tagbilaran-Panglao Island.

The DOT aims to bring in 10 million foreign tourists and 35 million domestic travelers by 2016.

“The themes for these areas will be MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions), business, resort, history, events, sightseeing, entertainment, shopping and eco-tourism,” said Corpuz.

Specific projects include expansion of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport terminal and improvement of runways, designing a gateway marketing program for global routes and establishment of seamless connectivity from the airport.

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Building and improving roads using a P2.86 billion this year with the Department of Public Works and Highways is part of the plan.

“We will also be expanding the passenger terminal in Bohol airport where we also need to set up a gateway,” said Corpuz.

Corpuz said they will also identify more Tourism Enterprise Zones in Cebu and Panglao, Bohol.

“We will also need to improve the 17 existing heritage destinations in the region with a budget of P500 million and link communities to tourism supply chain.”

An additional 7,000 rooms will be needed from 2011 to 2016 to accommodate the target number of tourists, he said.

The DOT has to “get married” to and collaborate with other government agencies to get all this done, said Corpuz, especially in improving road networks which is under the Dept of Public Works and Highways, and airports under the Dept. of Transportation and Communication.

A portfolio of nine tourism products will feature nature; cultural; sun and beach; leisure and entertainment; MICE and events; health, wellness and retirement; cruise and nautical; diving and marine sports; and education tourism.

Targets

The national target of 10 million foreign tourists and 35 million domestic travelers by 2016, is ambitious but doable, said Tourism Congress president Marceline Clemente.

“By 2016,” said Corpuz, “the foreign tourists should stay for 9.21 nights on the average spending at least P4,382.53 daily. For the domestic travelers, they should stay for 4.36 nights on the average spending P11,167 daily.”

It these targets are met, the Philippines stands to earn P2.13 trillion, create 6.8 million jobs and 17 percent employment.

According to Corpuz, the outlook is positive and favors strong global tourism growth especially in Southeast Asia which is projected to have 100 million arrivals in 2016 and 120 million by 2020.

“Based on a study by the Australian Tourism Commission in 2008, Chinese outbound travelers are will reach close to 90 million in 2016. That is a huge opportunity for us to tap.”

About 75 million Germans will also be traveling and about 65 million Americans, close to 60 million from the United Kingdom, and close to 50 million from Malaysia among others.

“By 2016, we project to have 1.9 million Korean tourists, 1.4 million Americans, 1 million Chinese, 1.04 million from other countries in the ASEAN region, and over 500,000 Japanese tourists,” said Corpuz.

The Tourism Congress board of trustees will meet today in Mactan resort for a strategic planning session to get inputs from the Visayas.

“We will be coming up with a master plan for our plans, projects and strategies that we will submit to DOT,” said Clemente.

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