PH falls in tourism competitiveness, security concerns cited | Inquirer News

PH falls in tourism competitiveness, security concerns cited

/ 02:30 PM May 03, 2017

IMMIGRATION LINE / APRIL 10, 2017 Departing passengers form a line at the Immigration counters of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 2 prior to boarding their respective flights on Monday, April 10, 2017. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Passengers form a line at the Immigration counters of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 2. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

The Philippines’ ranking dropped to 79th place out of 136 economies in World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017, five notches down from last year.

In its report released this week, WEF said the country’s score was pulled down by a “more restrictive visa policy that reduces its openness performance,” “a reduction of the government budget dedicated to the development of the travel and tourism (T&T) sector by almost half,” and “reduced efficiency of ground transport.”


READ: World Economic Forum upgrades PH | PH climbs travel sector competitiveness rankings


“These factors may not have had their full effect yet, and may reduce tourism activity in the future. In addition, security concerns remain high and diminished protection of property rights, less effective judicial system and stricter rules on FDIs (foreign direct investments) have reduced the conduciveness of the business environment,” WEF said.

“At the same time, environmental policy has improved but remains low, risking to undermine natural resources, the main asset for attracting tourists in the country. Although the Philippines’ T&T potential remains high, there are several areas where policy interventions could help to regain competitiveness,” the report added.

The Philippines got an overall score of 3.6. It obtained its lowest ranking in the pillar of safety and security (126th) and placed highest in price competitiveness (22nd).

Spain topped the global ranking for the second time, followed by France (2nd), Germany (3rd), Japan (4th, up five places), the United Kingdom (5th), the United States (6th, down two places), Australia (7th), Italy (8th), Canada (9th, up one) and Switzerland (10th, down four places).

Out of 136 countries, the Philippines ranked 82nd in the pillar of business environment, 92nd in health and hygiene, 50th in human resources and labor market, 86th in ICT readiness, 53rd in government prioritization of travel and tourism, 60th in international openness, 118th in environmental stability, 65th in air transport infrastructure, 107th in ground and port infrastructure, 87th in tourist service infrastructure, 37th in natural resources, and 60th in cultural resources and business travel.

In a statement, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said it “takes cognizance of the 2017 WEF Report released this week as a significant study, a useful resource in planning and prioritization.”


“Things are looking up for the tourism sector as the DOT’s professional and dedicated staff, a team-up of new blood and DOT veterans who constantly and consistently address urgent issues at hand,” the DOT said. “On visa policy, the DOT has made appropriate representations with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Finance and the Bureau of Immigration to relax the visa policy and process, especially on China.”

“On ground transport, the slow improvements at major international airports and secondary gateways in the 2015-2016 are now being fast-tracked under the Public-Partnership Program programs, including the construction of new ones. On business environment, the DOT has pursued the grant of tax incentives for Tourism Enterprise Zone (TEZ) operators. The non-issuance of Bureau of Internal Revenue regulation in the past six years has adversely affected investment interests in TEZ,” it added.

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The DOT said the Duterte administration is taking steps to “boost tourism sustainability and inclusivity, by improving business climate and creating jobs with new policies and measures being instituted at both national and local levels.” JE

TAGS: Security, Tourism, Travel, WEF

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