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Govt upbeat on local tourism

By Othel V. Campos | Posted on Feb. 06, 2013 at 12:01am
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The government is keeping its initial 10-percent growth target in domestic tourism revenues for 2013 from an estimated 35 million tourists.
“Filipinos have great appreciation of travel and we need not promote that hard. They do their own bookings, they go online,” Tourism Assistant Secretary Bong Bengzon said Tuesday during the press launch of 20th Travel Tour Expo at Romulo CafĂ© in Makati City.
The government also expects revenues from foreign tourists to increase at least another 10 percent.
Revenues from domestic tourism in 2011 hit P800 billion while those from foreign tourists contributed P100 billion. The government has not released the final figures on tourism revenues for 2012.
Domestic tourists in 2011 reached about 27 million with Boracay, one of the country’s premier destinations, welcoming its one millionth visitor in October last year.
Bengzon said the Tourism Department was keeping its earlier forecast of 5.5 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2013.
Foreign tourist arrivals hit about 4.27 million in 2011, including of more than 1 million Koreans.
“Japan, the US and China will continue to be the second-largest group. Malaysia and Taiwan have shown strong performance and may likely increase their arrival frequency in 2013,” he said.
The department said the Philippines needed 50,000 additional rooms in 2013 based on strong indications of increased influx of foreign travelers.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association said eco-tourism would become a prominent trend in travel.
“We have new destinations we are promoting. I think it will be good for them to have a certain confidence level [with local tourists] [to] accommodate inbound travelers. This expo will be a good venue and might serve as a dry run for them,” said former Travel Agencies Association president and Travel Expo chairman Aileen Clemente.
One of the new destinations is the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority where about 17 hotels and resorts are operating. Baler in Aurora province is another emerging destination that attracts foreign tourists.
The three-day Travel and Tours Expo 2013 will be held at the SMX Convention Halls from Feb. 17 to 19, 2013.

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