The Philippines has kept a “high profile” in the world tourism radar, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Friday.
“Tourism is at its most exciting times. The Philippines has kept a high profile in the world tourism radar,” Romulo-Puyat said during her keynote address at the 7th Tourism Coordinating Council (TCC) meeting in Makati.
“We are still among the sought-after destinations by many foreign travelers. In fact, foreign tourist arrivals to the country continue to grow by leaps and bounds,” she added.
The country has recorded an all-time high of 4,133,050 international tourists in the first half of 2019, marking an 11.43 percent increase compared to figures last year.
According to DOT’s January to June statistics, South Korea remains as the Philippines’ top source market with 946,025 tourists arriving in the country, which makes up 22.89 percent of the total market share.
This was followed by China with 866,561; the United States with 569,204; Japan with 326,907; and Taiwan with 159,532.
Romulo-Puyat said the country has also reached an estimated PHP245 billion in visitor receipts over the period, a huge spike of 17.57 percent from the half-year gross revenues in 2018.
The tourism industry remains the third engine of economic growth, contributing 12.7 percent to the country’s gross domestic product.
In 2018 alone, it generated new jobs that employed 5.4 million, chalking up 13 percent of the total employment in the country.
“As we reach this halfway mark, it is time for us to come together and evaluate all our tourism convergence efforts, assess the effectiveness of the strategies and programs identified, make adjustments on the (National Tourism Development) Plan if needed, and prioritize the completion of remaining tasks at hand to ensure that the NTDP targets are achieved by its completion in 2022,” Romulo-Puyat said.
The TCC meeting was attended by heads of concerned national agencies and government offices, DOT-attached agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, representing the private sector.
The last TCC meeting was held two years ago in February 2017 with the approval and adoption of the National Tourism Development Plan 2016-2022 as one of the highlights.
Romulo-Puyat, on the other hand, assured that her priority thrusts to pursue strong partnerships, expand the current market base, and restart global promotions efforts, among others, remain. (PNA)