PH still ‘safe and fun destination’ for tourists despite Yolanda crisis – DOT
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines remains a “safe and fun destination for all tourists” despite the devastation caused by “supertyphoon Yolanda” (international name Haiyan) in some parts of the country, according to the Department of Tourism.
In a statement, the DOT noted on Thursday that “Filipinos have always been resilient and continue to be so now” as it also expressed optimism “the nation will overcome and move forward from these difficult times.”
“The top tourist destinations in the Visayas continue to be accessible through their respective ports of entry: Boracay island through Kalibo and Caticlan in Aklan; Cebu through the Mactan International Airport; Bohol through the Tagbilaran City airport; Iloilo through the Iloilo and Bacolod-Silay airports,” it pointed out.
The agency assured tourists that “tourism establishments and activities continue and remain in operation in other parts of the country, which play host to some of the Philippines’ key tourist destinations.”
“The great majority of touristic products are available, whether one is looking for a beach holiday, historical trip, gastronomic tour, or one of the many other possible travel opportunities. The country is home to some of the world’s great tourist sites and adventures with its unparalleled natural wonders, rich biodiversity, spectacular beaches, world-renowned heritage sites, and modern shopping complexes, among others,” it said.
According to the DOT, tourism “continues to be one of the major contributors to the economy, playing a significant role in rebuilding lives and businesses in communities.”
“We rely on our partners, both in the private and public sectors, to embark on initiatives that will help us achieve normalcy and sustain the growth of tourism, particularly in the tourist destinations affected by the natural calamity,” it said, adding the DOT has been “focused on the safety and monitoring of tourist movements in all typhoon-affected areas.”
The tourism department expects 5.5 million foreign tourists visiting the country this year and 35 million local residents going on domestic tours.
Boracay, Cebu and Palawan are among the tourists’ top picks, but the DOT is promoting new destinations to ease the pressure on mainstream local attractions and also push for income opportunities in the countryside.
South Korea remains the largest foreign tourist source for the Philippines, followed by Japan and China.
However, the DOT and its industry partners are looking for other markets, like Russia, India, the Middle East and other member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, for a wider base of tourism growth.
The agency’s campaign that hinges on the slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines” is also helping create awareness of the country among foreign tourists, mainly through social media.
The DOT has also come up with a “route development group” to identify and work out the opening of more flights to and from the Philippines.
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