DOT to focus on domestic tourist arrivals

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

MANILA -- The Department of Tourism (DOT) will focus on raising domestic tourist arrivals, since a slowdown is expected in the international tourism market.

“Though a lot of tourism sites in the country have been affected by recent calamities, there are other destinations that can be enjoyed,” said Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Chief Operations Officer Domingo Ramon Enerio III in a press briefing Friday.

“We would like to encourage people to recognize these destinations as a way of giving back to the communities that have been affected,” he added.

Through the tourism project “Bagon Tours,” domestic tourism can help in the recovery and rebuilding efforts for the victims and survivors of calamities.

The project invites Filipinos to travel within the country from December 1, 2013 to February 28, 2014 for the purpose of raising income in which establishments can share at least five percent of it for rehabilitation, he said.

Enerio said that the project was not merely initiated in light of the recent calamities; it also sought for a further increase in domestic tourist arrivals.

“It is not just because a calamity happened, it is because of these calamities that we are given a reason to further push for domestic tourism,” he said.

“We are actually situated in an area that is calamity-prone,” he said. “Year in year out we’re going to have this kind of experiences, we will have to deal with these challenges.”

Tourism impacted even the lowliest of Filipinos as it was through the tourism industry that they acquire jobs, he added.

He said that tourism provided jobs for fishermen who provide the catch of the day for various resorts, and farmers that provide vegetables, dairy requirements and meat requirements.

There were also vendors that sold trinkets or souvenir items for tourists, even shop owners, restaurants, tourism affected various people, he said.

“Tourism has a social responsibility component,” Enerio said. “At the moment, the international market is looking at the Philippines and trying to see how to help.”

“The local market is more appropriate to tap on how tourism can rebuild communities and the country from such as devastating calamity,” he said.

“Bangon Tours is a way of telling our Filipino travellers that there is something you contribute back to the economy (by means of travelling),” he added.

He also said that the DOT will still stick to its tourism goal of achieving 56 million domestic arrivals and 10 million international arrivals by 2016. (PNA)

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