Gov’t banks on tourism to bring in more dollars


The government targets to boost the number of foreign visitors to the Philippines to 10 million a year, eager to make tourism one of the country’s biggest sources of foreign exchange together with remittances and foreign investments in business process outsourcing (BPO).

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, who also sits in the policy-making Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, said the Aquino administration wanted to further increase the country’s total reserves of foreign exchange from a record high of more than $80 billion last year through tourism.

He said the current administration wanted tourist arrivals to more than double to 10 million in 2016, the end of President Aquino’s term.

“The President wants to build a third, strong leg in the country’s foreign exchange position together with remittances and BPO investments,” Purisima said.

In 2012, tourist arrivals to the Philippines hit a historic high of 4.27 million. The number was up 9 percent from 3.92 million the previous year but short of the government’s target. Tourism receipts grew as well, expanding by 17 percent year on year to about $3.7 billion. This amount, however, remained anemic compared with remittances and foreign investments in the BPO sector.

In this year’s Philippine Development Forum (PDF) in Davao City that ended on Tuesday, representatives from the government and foreign lenders agreed to make tourism one of the major priority areas for development.

The World Bank, which helped organize the PDF, said spending for tourism and agriculture infrastructure should be boosted to achieve the goal of job creation. With sufficient funding support, the World Bank said the tourism sector could quickly generate jobs and help lift people out of poverty.

Tourism is believed to be a low-hanging fruit for the Philippines. Economists said that given the country’s natural resources, the revenue potential of tourism remained largely untapped.

Last year, the country’s gross international reserves hit nearly $84 billion, the highest on record. The amount was enough to cover nearly a year’s worth of the country’s import requirements and about six times the country’s short-term, foreign currency-denominated debts.

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  • Charles Lynel F. Joven

    you guys at the DOT and dpwh are gonna need to do a whole lot more, especially when it comes to building roads, seaports and airports in other regions with lots of tourism potentials…ang focus  nyo kasi dun lang sa mga already popular short-sighted….!!!!! 


    10 million will be a pipe dream if the government doesn’t build more airports, expand or improve existing ones. NAIA is already bursting at the seams… flight delays are normal… access to NAIA is horrible…  crime is a problem… There is alot of work if you want to bring a dream to reality… press statements and setting targets will not cut it if you can’t build the means to bring the tourists in…

    • Charles Lynel F. Joven

      open more direct flights from overseas to airports like Davao, Bacolod, CDO, Puerto Princesa, Gensan, Surigao and Iloilo..if you really don’t want NAIA to look like a parking lot..

  • DGuardian

    Ang gobyerno natin ay sa tourism umaasa sa paglago ng dollar earnings ng ating bansa, pero hindi naiisip ng ating mga namumuno na pangalagaan ang mga tourist spots na pupuntahan ng mga turista. Sinasabi ng mga taga-Bohol na dalawang hills na kasama sa mga Chocolate Hills na itinuturing na heritage sites ang nai-quarry at ngayon ay naglaho na. Tiyak na may kinalaman dito ang Mayor ng town at Barangay Chairman ng barangay na dating kinaroroonan ng dalawang hills. Bakit ang mga tao sa lugar ay walang malasakit at hindi man lamang nai-report nang palihim ang ginagawang pag-quarry ng mga gahaman? Hindi pa man ipinanganakl ang mga kanunununuan ng lahing Pilipino ay nandoon na ang mga Chocolate Hills na ito . Ang Pilipinas lamang sa buong mundo ang biniyayaanm ng Diyos ng ganitong likas na kayamanan.  Libu-libo nang mga siglo na nag-eexist ang mga Chocolate Hills na iyon, pero itong mga gahaman at mga mukhang pera na Pilipino ay walang konsensiya na tinibag at ipinagbili ang mga ito na national treasures at properties ng Pilipinas. 

    Bakit nangyayari sa bayan natin ang ganitong paglapastangan at pagnanakaw sa national patrimony ng Pilipinas? Napakababa na ba talaga at burak ang pagkatao at pag-iisip ng karamihan sa ating mga Pilipino, kung kaya’t ang mga ganitong kasamaan at pagnanakaw ay nagaganap at hindi pinapansin ng ating mga kababayan?  Dapat ay may inventory ng kabuuang bilang ng mga Chocolate Hills at kunan din ito ng mga videos at iba pang aerial at surface views ang DENR at DOT, pati na ang National Heritage Commission.  Kung hindi ito bibigyan ng pansin, iimbestigahan at papatawan ng mabigat na parusa ang mga may kagagawan sa pagkawala ng mga Chocolate Hills ay baka unti-unting mawala ang mga ito. Dapat ay gawing heinous crime ang pagwasak, pagnanakaw , at pag-desecrate sa ating mga heritage sites at lahat ng kabilang sa ating national patrimony. Sana ay gumawa ng aksiyon ang Pangulong Aquino tungkol dito at mag-imbestiga rin ang Senado at House of Representatives.  In the meantime, sana ay iutos ng Pangulo sa NBI na gumawa ng masusing imbestgasyon at ikulong ang mga may kagagawan nang mahabang panahon. Sana rin ay kumilos ang DENR, DOT, at iba pang mga sangay na dapat ay nag-poprotekta sa Chocolate Hills at sa lahat ng ating heritage sites.

  • Dri P Ooi

    As a frequent visitor to Philippines, I feel a lot need to be done to place her on par with Thailand. Security, infrastructure and quality of foods need looking into. Filipinos are great peoples and English is widely understood so they should aim higher than Malaysia which receives more than 10 million tourists last year.

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