More rooms for visitors in Baguio

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013


THE intensified campaigns to invite foreign and domestic tourists to visit the Philippines call for additional rooms and accommodations around the country, according to a tourism official.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Assistant Secretary Rolando Canizal said the country will need some 37,352 rooms in order to reach its 10-million foreign tourists and 56-million target in 2016.

With some 162,000 rooms currently available in the country and some 15,000 rooms being developed, Canizal believes the country will need more accommodations, especially in Metro Manila and in other major tourism destinations in the country.

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In Cordillera region, with majority of accommodations in Baguio City, there are currently some 6,855 rooms. Canizal projects the region will need an additional 3,890 rooms more to accommodate the influx of tourists expected by 2016, especially in Baguio, Ifugao and Benguet.

Canizal said, with the crafting of the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), there is already a guide on how to harness the potential of tourism destinations in the country.

While the country still adheres to the Sustainable Tourism concept, Canizal said they are moving into developing what the country is good at by dividing tourism destinations into 20 clusters all should be accessible to some nine international gateways and 20 domestic airports in the country.

As of the moment, the country is focusing on nature, culture, sea and sand as among the major draws of the country compared to other countries, he said.

He added that the NTDP has addressed issues on congestion and safety issues of airports in the country through the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), while in the Cordillera the tourism sector relies mostly on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in improving road conditions to the region’s tourism attractions.

With the NTDP in place, he said the country still need to focus a lot on its tourism products, access, governance and human resources to become competitive.

Eyed as major tourism draws of the country include: Korea, United States, China, Japan, India and other Southeast Asian countries.

He said they are optimistic they would reach tourist arrival targets since as of 2012 the country has surpassed the four-million tourist arrival target and reached 4.27-million tourist arrivals last year.

Majority of the tourists, he said are Koreans with 1-million tourists from South Korea arriving in the country to spend their holidays here.

By 2016, he said they are targeting some 2-million Koreans and 1-million tourist arrivals each from Southeast Asian countries, United States and China. (JM Agreda)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 30, 2013.

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