DOT upgrades tourism target for 2013

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CEBU CITY—The Department of Tourism sees the Philippines exceeding its inbound tourism target of 5 million this year as campaigns to expand foreign and domestic tourism gain momentum, a Department of Tourism official said Friday.

“We are confident of exceeding the 5 million mark at the end of the year,” Assistant Secretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said at a Cebu Business Month conference, noting that more than 1.6 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines from January to April, beating arrivals during the same four-month period in 2012 by 10 percent.

Updating its estimates, the DOT sees 5.5 million foreign tourists visiting the country this year and 35 million residents going on domestic tours.

Boracay, Cebu, Bohol, Davao, and Puerto Princesa are among their top picks but DOT is promoting new tourist destinations to ease the pressure on mainstream sites and also draw income opportunities to the countryside.

South Korea remains the largest tourism source for the Philippines, followed by Japan and China. The three are expected to account for at least a third of inbound tourists this year, Bengzon said.

However, the DOT and its industry partners are looking for other markets and segments for a wider base of tourist growth, Bengzon said. Among the promising markets, he said, are Russia, India, the Middle East, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

The campaign that hinges on the slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines” is also helping create awareness of the Philippines among tourists, mainly through social media, Bengzon said. From just 5 Facebook memes in 2012, there are now about 50,000 all over the Internet and some have even been adopted by the DOT in its campaigns, Bengzon said.

The DOT has also set up a route development group to identify and work out the opening of more flights to and from the Philippines, Bengzon said.

As for controversies such as those in the West Philippine Sea and particularly the recent diplomatic tussle with Taiwan over the killing of a fishermen said to be illegally fishing in Philippine waters, Bengzon said he believed tourist arrivals from Taiwan were “normalizing.”

Taiwan is the fifth-largest source of tourists for the Philippines.

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  • pinoysadubai

    saka educate the masses about tourism…yung mga taxi drivers mga salbahe, basta nakakita ng foreigner tingin dollar agad at tatagain sa presyo…saka sana linisin ang lansangan ng mga taong grasa saka yung namamalimos..eye sore talaga….

  • pinoysadubai

    ayusin muna ang airport…grabe coming from dubai or sometimes via stopover from hongkong or singapore kitang kita mo kung paano tayo napapag-iwanan..ito ang unang nakikita ng tourists, sabi nga first impression lasts…

  • rickysgreyes

    Metro Manila should also be a top SHOPPING destination. Specially for Europeans and Asians. You will not see malls the size of MOA, Megamall and SM North, then throw in Trinoma, Greenhills, Greenbelt, Shang, etc. all in one City anywhere in the world. Intramuros is also beautiful, specially if government can get its act and remove squatters from the walls and put up museums and parks.

  • kilabot

    after release of brown’s “inferno”,
    many curious tourists will come.

    • spiritnsoul700

      Nah, Its not worth to come when its typhoon season, Tourists are smarter now and most of us know the Philippines is rained with average 20 to 30 typhoon tropical and flash floods and endless landslides usually from mid June to November month, December is definitely not the time to be in The Philippines, Its too overcrowded and it is bloody most expensive in The Philippines at this time of the season cos of festive season, Xmas and season greeting. What are we gonna do except to get stuck in our hotel during these period, Cant even even dip in the pool in Boracay resorts.and cant ant even step out even after the typhoon leaves, cos of floods .

      Never patronise shopping malls in the Philippines specially during the weekends and holiday season, It’s stuffy humid in any air conditioning shopping malls cos of the overwhelming local crowd and you can hardly walk stroll at ease, It is very stressful experience and gets on your nerves having to squeeze and keep your focus on the crowd more than been able to scout freely around to see if there is anything worth to buy, You lose the interest to shop and all you want is to get the hell out of these packed overcrowded mall, Even in New York and London shopping malls I don’t experience such stressful experience like I encountered in The Philippines shopping malls

      The only safest time to visit Philippines is from month of March to early June and by then get the hell out.

  • Hfxwst

    Philippines are islands – if we want more tourism development, then simply we need more flights. Protectionism for PAL needs to end, and we need to invite the world’s air carriers. . . . . and stop making foreign carriers pay more than PAL, that is called robbery.

  • NoWorryBHappy

    Boracay, Cebu, Bohol, Davao, and Puerto Princesa are among their top picks
    :
    And Laoag. Vigan, San Fernando, Paoay, Pagudpud, Baguio, Ifugao, Tuguegarao, Aparri, Batanes, etc ….

  • johnllander

    It’s not only in the slogan. There’s a need to organize the tourism industry and networks, and to educate the people.

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