by Rick Daligdig
Summer is not yet over! As the heat index intensifies day by day, this is also a very good opportunity for everyone to feel the vibe of vacation. Fortunately, this year we have lots, Yes! A lot of long weekends that we look ahead so if I were you, Plot your leaves, Pack your backpacks, and Schedule your next vacation escapade.
When you go to your provinces, joining day tours organize by different travel and tourist agency you are called a tourist. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, you are a tourist in your country. And with that, your trip is a win-win situation wherein you will get the best vacation you dream of, and at the same time, you give the local residents there a means to their livelihood.
Data wise last year, the number of international tourist arrival in our country printed at 2.02 million way better than 2021 and 2020 figures but still way beyond pre-pandemic levels in 2019’s 8.26 million the highest figures as of this date. Tourism contributed over 10 percent to the country’s gross domestic product. However, with the closure of international borders and nationwide lockdown, the tourism sector’s direct gross value added plunged by nearly half in the past two years. Baguio, Palawan, and Boracay are the most popular destinations among travelers in our country. In terms of foreign tourists by country of residence, the United States is still the biggest market of international tourists traveling to the Philippines, with a total of about 505.1 thousands travelers.
For this year the Department of Tourism (DOT) the leading agency in promoting tourism in the country targets to have at least 4.8 million international tourist arrivals. For 2023 Q1 figures, a total of 1.15 million tourists have logged in to visit the Philippines. DOT is optimistic that we will bounce back to pre-pandemic figures. This is a marching order of President Marcos Jr. In response, DOT unveiled the National Tourism Development Plan for 2023-2028. This will be the guidebook of the industry where we put in place mechanisms for sustainability for many many years to come. Despite the challenges still faced in the industry like climate change and man-made disasters like what happened to Puerto Galera where the water quality of their beaches failed the series of tests conducted by DENR and may potentially harm the people. Who will forget about what happened to Boracay which former president Duterte describes as a “cesspool” that leads to the six-month rehabilitation and closure of the island? Waste management is also a big problem for tourist destinations. The country dropping two places in the World Economic Forum 2021 Travel and Tourism Development Index.
With the NTDP, DOT Sec. Frasco was optimistic about the future of Philippine tourism.
“The momentum for recovery and growth has begun. We’ve eased restrictions. We’ve continued to aggressively promote our destinations through the DOT’s constant and unyielding presence in various exhibits in the Philippines and all over the world. And people are traveling now, and are traveling with a vengeance,” Frasco said.
Philippines has so rich and abundant to its nature from mountains, seas, and land which are a plus factor to promote our country in the international arena. But let me ask you, what is our very advantage over Filipino when it comes to tourism? It’s the Hospitable attitude that is innate and very natural to us that’s why they will keep on visiting us. So fellas “Tara Na, Byahe na Tayo!” ##