DOT keeps hope alive for more tourist arrivals
While the Department of Tourism (DOT) admitted it won’t be able to meet its targets for the year, there was still hope for the industry that contributed around P1.9 trillion to the economy in 2017.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the government was likely to fail to meet its 7.4-million tourist arrival target because of the six-month closure of Boracay Island.
Although Boracay reopened on Oct. 26, Puyat said this would not translate to increased arrivals because the government had limited access to 19,215 persons a day.
DOT spokesperson and Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said the country lost around 500,000 foreign tourists while Boracay was being rehabilitated from April to October.
“While we were able to divert some of the foreign tourist traffic to Cebu, Bohol and Palawan, there might be some who canceled all together,” Bengzon said.
But while actual arrivals may be short of the target, the 7.2-million expected arrivals will still be higher than the record 6.6 million posted in 2017.
Puyat said foreign tourist arrivals from January to October reached 5.88 million from January to October, 7.43 percent up compared with the same period in 2017.
Most of these arrivals were from South Korea, which remained the country’s top source of tourists.
But DOT data from January to October showed fewer South Koreans chose to go to the country this year at 1.295 million, a decrease of 2.72 percent from last year.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.