Diverse attractions needed, says DOT exec | SunStar

Diverse attractions needed, says DOT exec

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Diverse attractions needed, says DOT exec

Friday, June 16, 2017

AS the country’s tourism sector hopes to attract 12 million foreign tourists by 2022, the Department of Tourism (DOT) vows to position the country’s tourism jewels as destinations ideal for both young and “silver market” travelers.

Undersecretary Alma Rita Jimenez of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) regulation, coordination and resource generation unit identified the youth and the “silver market” or baby boomers as emerging markets that are going to help global tourism grow fast.

“Arrivals in emerging destinations will be higher and are expected to increase at twice the rate of those in advanced economies,” said Jimenez during the Cebu Tourism Summit yesterday.

Quoting WYSE Travel Confederation and the World Tourism Organization 2015 Report, Jimenez said that the size of the global youth travel market—in particular, those 15 to 29 years old—is estimated to represent 23 percent of international tourist arrivals. This figure translates to 270 million young international travelers spending about $283 billion.

“This type of market stays longer and spends more. They will look for places that are authentic, places that are concerned with the protection of the local environment and where tourism money benefits the people in the destination,” explained Jimenez.

At the other end of the spectrum is the silver market, which accounts for 25 percent of all tourism buyers. The DOT official said this type of tourists will want easier and more relaxed destinations.

“To service these two diverse markets, we will need to gear our tourism destinations to provide two diverse experiences,” said Jimenez.

She added that strategies to capture these emerging markets are in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2017-2022, which is ready for approval by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The DOT aims to attract 12 million foreign tourists and 89.2 million local tourists by 2022. It also aims to reach some P4 trillion in total tourism revenues, of which P922 billion and P2.95 trillion will come from international and domestic travelers, respectively.

It also forecasts local employment in the tourism sector to benefit 6.5 million individuals by 2022 and increase the share of the tourism sector in the gross domestic product, from the current 8.2 percent to 14 percent at the end of the Duterte administration.

Meanwhile, the DOT remains optimistic that the rise in the country’s international tourist arrivals will continue after recording 11.4 percent for the first quarter of 2017.

The agency anchored its confidence on the continued investments in tourism infrastructure, pegged at over P600 billion, alongside aggressive marketing efforts, and on the heightened security all over the country.

The DOT said international arrivals have breached the million mark as early as February of this year. A total of 1,784,882 visitors came to the country in the first quarter this year.

Of the P677-billion budget for the medium-term tourism infrastructure program, P184.5 billion will be spent on tourism roads under its convergence program to improve land-based travel with the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on June 17, 2017.

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