Economist encourages Filipinos to venture into tourism businesses-A A +A
Thursday, August 23, 2012
ONE of the country’s leading economists is urging Filipinos to venture into tourism-related businesses and take advantage of the growing domestic sector.
Economist Bernardo Villegas of the University of Asia and Pacific, in a recent economic forum, said domestic tourism is another source of growth in the country.
He said that aside from building high-end hotels to cater to foreign tourists, Filipino entrepreneurs can build bed and breakfast facilities similar to those found in Europe to cater to Filipinos who travel to various areas in the country.
“If the government will fall short in achieving the number of foreign arrivals, domestic tourism would be the country’s source of growth,” Villegas said.
He said most Filipino travelers opt to stay in a 10 to 15-room hotel and demand only clean linens as well as toilet and bath and a good breakfast.
Villegas said the industry should not underestimate the spending power of Filipinos when it comes to travelling and shopping.
The Islands Group of Companies president Jay Aldeguer said low air fares and packages have given Filipinos the opportunity to travel. The increased domestic air connectivity, especially in regional areas, has also made travel more convenient.
Passenger volume totaled 11.02 million from January to June, up by 13.37 percent from the 9.72 million recorded last year, data from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed.
Aldeguer said social networking sites have also triggered growth in domestic tourism.
He said the presence of modern channels now such as Facebook have encouraged Filipinos, especially the youth, to visit various areas in the country. He said Facebook is one of the effective channels to promote various attractions in the Philippines, especially those located in far-flung provinces.
The Aquino government has set a target of 10 million foreign tourists and 35.5 million domestic travelers by 2016. The government has adopted the “pocket open skies” policy to allow international carriers to land in secondary airports outside Metro Manila to boost economic development in the regions.
The Department of Tourism said they are also coming up with various and “fun” activities in the regional level to entice Filipinos to travel within the country.
Villegas said the tourism target is achievable, considering the on-going efforts of both the public and private stakeholders in improving tourism infrastructure such as roads and airports.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 24, 2012.