Angara to DOT: Use ‘storytelling’ in attracting tourists
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) should use “storytelling” to attract more foreign visitors to the country, Senator Sonny Angara said Wednesday.
“Storytelling is a great way of inspiring tourists to explore new things, activities and experiences in the Philippines, which is without a doubt a beautiful and unique country with so many great attractions,” Angara said in a statement.
Angara made the remark as he joined Senators Richard Gordon and Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri in calling on the DOT to come up with a tourism plan anchored on the storytelling of the rich cultural heritage of different tourist sites in the country.
The senators made the appeal on Monday before the Senate plenary approved the proposed P3.377 billion DOT budget for 2019. Angara is the Senate finance committee vice chairman who sponsored and defended the DOT budget.
Angara said the lack of narrative about the country’s top tourist destinations could be a reason why the Philippines lags behind its Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of tourist arrivals.
In 2017, the Philippines only had 5.361 million foreign tourist arrivals compared to Thailand’s 29.923 million; Malaysia, 25.721 million; Singapore, 12.051 million; Indonesia, 10.407 million; and Vietnam, 7.944 million, according to the World Bank.
The DOT’s target for 2018 was 7.4 million tourist arrivals.
“We expect the DOT to come up with a powerful, believable and interesting story about the country and its destinations to encourage more foreign tourists to visit the Philippines,” Angara said.
The senator earlier called on the DOT to fast-track its plans and programs in developing and promoting other tourist destinations in the country.
“There should be more emphasis on new destinations. We can do so much better than 7.4 million tourists. Everyone knows that,” Angara earlier said.
He cited Sorsogon, Leyte, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga, Catanduanes and Siquijor, which are among the poorest provinces but are potential tourist magnets. /je
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