Next admin must capitalize on gains of tourism industry

Bersyon sa Filipino.

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. today said the next Administration must take advantage of the initial gains of the tourism industry to generate more jobs and income opportunities for our people.

Marcos aired the call following the Department of Tourism’s report that tourist arrivals in the country hit the 5 million mark this December. The DOT (Department of Tourism) expressed confidence tourist arrivals in 2016 could reach 6 million.

“Although that is still far from the original target of 10 million tourist arrivals by 2016, these initial projections reflect we are gaining ground in our efforts to promote the Philippines as a top tourist destination,” Marcos assessed.

Marcos however warned that tourist arrivals would not increase unless the next Administration vigorously pursues tourism-related infrastructure projects and completes them as soon as possible, especially by opening new airports, upgrading of existing ones, and adding sea ports and other related road projects.

“These facilities leave a lasting impression on tourists. How can you expect anybody to recommend that a friend visit the Philippines if his arrival here was delayed because of runway congestion, if he found the airport comfort rooms dirty, or if they got stuck for hours in traffic?” Marcos assessed.

Apart from ensuring all vital infrastructures are in place, Marcos said the government should also train tourism industry workers and businesses to make the country more tourist-friendly.

“I don’t think it would be too difficult to achieve given the legendary hospitality of Filipinos, most of whom can also speak English,” Marcos said.

Marcos, who is running for Vice President in the 2016 elections, has been pushing to strengthen the country’s tourism industry which has contributed a large part in the economic development of Ilocos Norte during his stint as three-term Governor of the province.

He cited a report of the World Travel and Tourism Council saying that Southeast Asia posted the second fastest growth of travel and tourism in 2015 at 7 percent, next only to South Asia which posted a 7.7 percent growth.

“The WTTC forecasts that the sector will continue growing and that by 2025 it will contribute S11.3 trillion in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to the world economy and will support 355 million jobs globally.

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