Marcos: Better transport, infra mean more tourists

Marcos: Better transport, infra mean more tourists

/ 05:04 AM May 18, 2024

Marcos: Better transport, infra mean more tourists

SERVING TOURISTS President Marcos and Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco lead the inauguration of the Tourist Rest Area on Saud Beach in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, on Friday. The facility, the first established in northern Luzon, is a flagship project of the Department of Tourism to serve local and foreign tourists.—MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Boasting that “there is no place in the Philippines that is not beautiful,” President Marcos on Friday said he was eyeing a tenfold increase in the number of “balikbayan” tourists visiting the country.

At the inauguration of a tourist rest area on the pristine beach at Barangay Saud in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, the President said the government would continue improving travel, transportation and tourist infrastructure to turn the country into Asia’s “tourism powerhouse.”


Marcos noted that the 1989 Balikbayan program—which allows former Filipino citizens and overseas Filipinos to stay in the Philippines for one year and enjoy travel tax exemptions and duty-free shopping privileges—originally targeted one million returning Filipinos as tourists.


“Now we are targeting 10 times that. We have started to approach that, but there are many aspects to tourism. It’s not just the beautiful beach, it’s not just the beautiful rest house or the nice hotels and the resorts that they stay in but it’s also the ease of which they travel around, the access that they have. We are improving our regional airports and ports for that,” he said.

For 2024, the Department of Tourism (DOT) had set a target of 7.7 million foreign tourists, close to its 2019 inbound figure of 8.26 million tourist arrivals before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

As of April 24, the DOT had recorded 2,010,522 tourist arrivals, of which 1,894,076 or 94.21 percent were foreigners. This translated to P157.62 billion in tourism receipts from January to March 31.

The President reassured that the government would continuously improve infrastructure such as transport hubs, regional airports and roads apart from developing tourist spots so that more tourists—Filipinos and foreigners alike—will visit the Philippines’ beautiful scenery.

“The Philippines is truly beautiful, everywhere you look. Well, maybe not the cities. But once you leave the city, you see the real Philippines. There is no place [like] the Philippines. That’s our capital; let’s take full advantage of that,” Marcos said.

Promoting north Luzon

In his home province of Ilocos Norte, he said the government would reassess and promote various dive destinations in the coastal towns of Pagudpud, Badoc and Currimao.


He said Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco would be in a good position on how to encourage more tourists to go up north for diving trips.

“We could not have a better proponent than our secretary, who comes from Cebu, one of the best, if not the best, dive destinations in the world. She herself is a diver, so she knows exactly how it’s supposed to work,” he said.

He also promoted the province’s other scenic, world-class spots like the Paoay Church, Paoay Sand Dunes, Malacanang of the North, the white sand beach of Saud in Pagudpud and the pristine rivers of Adams, which he said would be perfect for rafting and kayaking.

Marcos said the government was also developing the Ilocos and Pangasinan Regional Historical Trail to honor and preserve the Ilocos region’s rich history and culture.

The tourist rest area inaugurated in Pagudpud is the first of its kind in northern Luzon. There are eight other tourist rest areas in Palawan, Cebu, Bukidnon and Samal Island.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

These facilities offer free comfortable seats and resting areas, restrooms and shower areas, mobile phone charging stations and an area where they can buy the province’s local wares and delicacies as “pasalubong.”

TAGS: Marcos, Tourism

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.