DOT Sticks to Target of 10-M Foreign Tourist Arrivals by 2016

A decline in the number of international tourist arrivals this year is expected, but the Department of Tourism (DOT) is still determined to meet its goal of 10 million arrivals by 2016

Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Chief Operations Officer (COO) Domingo Ramon Energio III said that although there has been a slight slowdown in arrivals, the top 12 international markets, with Korea being on top, remain high.

Arrivals from Taiwan, meanwhile, dropped because of territorial issues, Enerio noted, although not being able to supply exact statistics as of posting time.

The DOT international tourist arrival target for this year is five million, which will decline but eventually bounce back in the coming years, he said.

“We will probably see a bit of a decline overall but we are still looking at achieving numbers that are comparable if not better than last year,” Enerio said during a press briefing on Friday.

He explained that there was a reported 30 to 90 percent cancellations in hotel bookings which will affect tourism growth.

“Mother nature has dealt us a bitter blow. We have to take it on the chin,” Enerio said. “If we fall we rise again.”

On the other hand, he also said that the good news was that countries still look forward to developing tour programs in the Philippines.

Among which are China, which recently sent in 100 tour operators to the country; Malaysia, which sent in 120 and India which sent in 280. Korean endorses have also visited to play golf, Enerio added.

“No matter what kind of calamity hits us, we cannot remove our foot on the gas. We need to aim for 10 million,” Enerio stressed.

He said that the DOT and TPB will not be lax in its tourism campaign and will even compare the country’s tourism growth to a boxing brawl.

“Let us reserve the left hook for the appropriate time,” he said, referring to the tourism industry rising anew. “We can jab now and when time comes we will hit the market strong.”

“People have not forgotten how beautiful this country is,” Enerio said. “We will bounce back that’s for sure. Our target is 10 million for 2016 and it continues to be 10 million.” (Azer N. Parrocha/PNA)

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