Lim: RP still needs to fix tourism issues-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Saturday, October 23, 2010
BEFORE the Aquino administration can meet its target of six million foreign tourists by the end of his term, it has to first address some issues affecting the tourism industry, Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim said.
Lim, who spoke before the Philippine Russian Business Forum and Exhibition, said the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is currently taking measures to have the travel ban implemented by Hong Kong lifted.
In the meantime, he said they are hoping to improve a traveler’s experience in the country.
Lim said the international airports in Manila and Cebu do not give “pleasant” experiences for travelers.
Still, he said the government can achieve its goals by building infrastructure for tourism development, upgrading facilities and standards and harnessing culture for tourism.
He lamented that while the country’s tourism program was initiated in the 1970’s yet, its growth has been slow compared with counterparts in the South East Asian region.
While the Philippines has three million foreign tourists, Malaysia has 23 million, Thailand has 14 million, Indonesia has six million and Singapore has 10 million.
Lim said the country can double arrivals if it adopts a liberal civil aviation policy similar to that of Bali, Indonesia and Siem Reap, Cambodia.
To upgrade the country’s tourism quality, he wants to sell the “uniquely warm Filipino heart.”
He also hopes to sell the country as a destination that is more than just sun and sand, saying the country’s mix of western and eastern culture makes it unique.
He added that other destinations also offer their culinary uniqueness, which he said, should also be developed here.
Aside from the existing programs, Lim cited the effectiveness of sports tourism that has worked for Camarines Sur.
And with the country’s surplus of caregivers, Lim said the Philippines has an advantage in medical and wellness tourism.
He said that with the warmer climate and the citizens’ ability to communicate in English, the country can offer retirement packages for foreigners.
Lim also hopes overseas Filipino workers will help sell the country in the nations they are working in.
By next month, Lim said they will unveil a new brand for the Philippines and believes
it will have a positive effect on the market.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 23, 2010.