DOT cited for growth in tourist arrivals

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Friday, March 8, 2013


PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III gave the Department of Tourism high marks for sprucing up the tourism industry by making its more fun in the country advocacy worked.

Speaking to the participants of the Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, Exhibitions Conference at SMX Convention Center on Thursday, the President lauded the Department of Tourism for improving the industry by exceeding the number of domestic tourists.

He said back in 2011, the Tourism department exceeded by two million its 2016 target of 30.5 million domestic travels.

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"It means that in just a year and half, we already surpassed our target for the whole six-year term. So we have devised our 2016 target to 56.1 million domestic travels," Aquino said.

He expressed optimism that the country is catching up in its growth in the tourism industry with its Asian neighbors through creativity and hard work.

Aquino recalled that back in 2001, the tourist arrivals were only 1.8 million which grew at 3.1 million only in 2009.

"As of 2012, we had increased that number at 4.3 million tourists, the first time we reached a four million mark," he said.

Highlighting the activity was the signing by the president into the law, Senate Bill 3343 or House Bill 6022, an act recognizing the principle of reciprocity as basis for the grant of income tax exemptions to international carriers and rationalizing other taxes imposed thereon by amending several provisions of the National Revenue Code.

The new law rationales the taxes paid by international carriers in the country, reaffirming his leadership's commitment to the development of the tourism industry, by making tourism more fun for airline investments.

The new policy is aimed to significantly boost the attainment of the tourism industry's target of 10 million international visitors by 2016, after a decline in tourist arrivals due to the limited direct flights from European countries to the Philippines and the limited operation of American carriers to the country since 2001.

The taxes negatively impact on the ability of foreign air carriers to offer competitive rates and adequate connectivity to service target markets consequently diverting tourism flows to destinations other that the country or bypassing the country in favor of those with friendlier business environment.

Under the new law, foreign carriers both air and shipping are exempted from paying the common carriers tax imposed on passenger traffic only.

Carriers will also be value-added tax exempt for transport of passengers.

Foreign carriers are also exempt from paying income taxes on the basis of tax treaties or any international agreements based on reciprocity.

The law amended the following sections of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC): Section 28 (A)(3)(a)-(b) Rates of Income Tax on Foreign Corporations, Section 109 Exempt Transactions, Section 118 Percentage Tax on International Carriers. (PR)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 09, 2013.

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