Angara to DOT: Promote new PH tourist destinations
Despite an increase in projected foreign tourist arrivals, Senator Sonny Angara believes the Department of Tourism (DOT) can still do better even if Boracay remains closed for rehabilitation.
“There should be more emphasis on new destinations. Infrastructure is really what’s holding us back. We can do so much better than 7.4 million tourists. Everyone knows that,” Angara said during the Senate committee on finance’s hearing on the DOT’s budget Thursday.
In 2017, the DOT recorded 6.6 million tourist arrivals, with Boracay and Cebu being the top destinations. For 2018, DOT is aiming for 7.4 million tourist arrivals, amid the ongoing rehabilitation of Boracay.
According to the Angara who presided over the hearing, Boracay’s rehabilitation is a chance to develop other attractions to boost the country’s tourism industry. This, he added, will create employment in these areas.
“While Boracay is still undergoing rehabilitation, this is an opportune time to help bring our other tourist spots, especially in poorer areas, to international recognition,” Angara said.
“Malaking tulong ang paglago ng turismo sa paglikha ng trabaho at kabuhayan lalo na para sa mga lokal,” he explained.
As per DOT’s numbers, tourism accounts for 13 percent of the country’s whole employment, or about 5.3 million active jobs.
The DOT has launched various campaigns to promote both domestic and foreign tourism after the Philippines ranked 6th in the list of 10 Asean countries in terms of foreign tourist arrivals.
However, Angara stressed that promotions are not enough to increase tourist arrivals.
“Tourism is a very low-hanging fruit. Kahit anong ganda ng promotions natin, hindi natin maiaangat ang bilang ng turista na pumupunta sa bansa hangga’t hindi naaayos ang problema sa airport,” he said, after giving assurance that the expansion of the San Vicente and Siargao airports will be funded. /muf
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