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Arroyo attributes tourism rise to nautical highway program

By Irene R. Sino-Cruz
Inquirer Visayas
First Posted 19:30:00 03/02/2010

Filed Under: Travel & Commuting, Transport, Tourism

TAGBILARAN CITY?President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has attributed tourism development in her so-called Central Philippines Super Region to her nautical highway program in her ongoing series of sorties to drum up her administration?s accomplishments.

Ms Arroyo said her administration?s decision early on to open up other areas in the country for development was largely responsible for the growth of tourism in the countryside.

She took credit for the so-called Central Philippines Super Region in a recent briefing on board a fast craft from Cebu City to Tagbilaran City.

The Central Philippines Super Region is composed of Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas and the Mindanao islands of Camiguin and Siargao.

Ms Arroyo said the nautical highway project, which included the repair of roads, seaports and airports, corrected the inequitable distribution of projects that were mostly in Metro Manila.

It enabled the country?s tourism industry to grow considerably, Ms Arroyo said.

Although tourist arrivals declined by 8.5 percent worldwide in the first half of 2009, the country?s foreign tourist arrivals grew by six percent, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The Department of Tourism also reported that the number of foreign tourist arrivals jumped to 3.14 million in 2008 from 1.8 million in 2001.

The National Statistical Coordination Board also said the tourism industry employed 3.8 million people, or 11 percent of the country?s 34.53 million workforce.



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