THE Department of Tourism (DOT) has increased its targeted foreign tourist arrivals by two million for 2017.
DOT Secretary Wanda Teo said on Friday, January 13, they are raising the target tourism arrival as the Philippines will be in the limelight for this year.
“With much exposure that we have for this year, hopefully, we can achieve two more million tourists by the end of 2017,” she said in a press conference last Friday at the Waterfront Insular Hotel.
Last 2016, DOT set a target of six million foreign tourist arrivals.
She cited that boom in tourism will be contributed by the Philippines’ hosting of 65th Miss Universe, Asean 2017 chairmanship, official visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the opening of more direct international flights to the country especially outside Metro Manila (Cebu and Davao).
“These events will be of big help for our tourism. For Miss Universe alone, we have 88 candidates from around the globe and the event will be broadcasted throughout 190 countries, it will surely sell and highlight our country and other featured regional destinations like Boracay, Cebu, Vigan, Davao City,” Teo said.
Teo said she spoke with the Bangkok ambassador and the latter shared that after their hosting of Miss Universe, the Thailand government recorded a record-breaking increase of tourist arrival of five million.
She said she talked with the Chinese ambassador who pledged one million Chinese visitors will be visiting the Philippines within this year.
DOT-Davao Regional Director Roberto Alabado III, for his part said, at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-Korea Centre-led tourism capacity building workshop last January 9 at Marco Polo Hotel-Davao that the city's hosting of the Asean 2017 launching will give Davao more exposure to the international market.
DOT will sponsor a familiarity tour with the delegates during the year-long Philippine chairmanship in the Asean.
“From what I know, six Asean-related meetings and events will be conducted in Davao Region, mostly in Davao City,” he said.
Alabado said with the DOT-sponsored tour, Asean delegates including senior minister officials will experience the city tour.
“Maybe the tour will be just a three-hour city tour, we will take them to the city's landmarks like the City Hall, San Pedro Church and we will end at People's Park wherein we will prepare a grand presentation showcasing our culture through performances of our talented Davao artists,” he said.
From January to August last year, Philippines breached the four million mark in terms of foreign visitors came to the Philippines, 12.59 percent higher than the 3.59 million arrivals in the same period in 2015.
Teo said earlier the tourism department is hoping to hit 12 million foreign tourists and 89 million domestic tourists by 2022.