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Gov’t sees 5M tourists this year

Published on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 00:00 [ Malaya.com.ph ] 
DOT Undersecretary Daniel Corpuz, in his presentation at the 3rd Philippine Healthcare & Retirement Summit at the Dusit Hotel in Makati City, said foreign tourist  arrivals in the first quarter of the year has breached the 1.2-million mark, putting the country well on its way to hitting the 5-million mark this year.
He said the opening of secondary gateways  to foreign carriers while rehabilitating and expanding existing airports will allow for more visitors from Japan, Korea and China.
The country also expects the arrival of 33 new aircraft in the first quarter of 2014 which will fly in more visitors from the  Middle East, Australia, and Asean.
Another impetus is if the  country graduates to category 1 in the US rating.
Corpuz said the Philippines, once positioned for sun and  beach – now has three new market segments to expand its tourism portfolio: meetings, incentives, convention and exhibitions or MICE; dining and marine sports and; English as secondary language. Corpuz said the country attracts some 200,000 students from China and Korea annually.
By 2014, Corpuz said DOT would also focus on  cruises and the retirement and medical tourism.
According to Corpuz, the Tourism Industry Economic Zone Authority is now identifying tourism zones for masterplanning where the retirement, health and wellness facilities could be located He said the DOT has formed a technical working group to  craft a roadmap to ensure the  competitiveness of the country as a retirement and medical tourism destination even a s it leverages n the availability of skilled professionals and institutions. The Philippines he said can highlight its strength in certain fields of specialization like surgery (cardio, orthopedic) oncology, ophthalmology; dermatology and cosmetic surgery as well as dental care and standard medical treatments like checkups and diagnostics.
According to Veredigno Atienza, general manager of the Philippine Retirement Authority, the Philippines can position itself as retirement for fast-growing markets like China, Taiwan and Korea and even South Asia like India .
Atienza said Malaysia’s My Second Home Program has been successful because of South Asian retirees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and even from Iran.
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