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DOT targets $6.5-B 2016 tourist receipts

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - January 27, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is looking at a 10 percent increase in foreign receipts to $6.5 billion for 2016 on the back of enhanced air connectivity and capacity expansion initiatives.

The Philippine tourism industry generated about $6 billion and a total 5.3 million arrivals in 2015. This year, DOT targets six million international tourists, up 13 percent from last year.

The DOT is banking on three drivers for the sustained growth of the industry: better air access, added accommodation facilities and strengthened marketing and promotion strategies.

DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon noted they want to position the Philippines as a multiple gateway destination, as well as conduct more air talks with other countries.

“We conduct air talks very deliberately and review where we need more connectivity. The next few years will see a more equitable distribution of tourist traffic across the country. The government’s liberalized civil aviation policy has resulted in more visitor traffic to other gateways,” Bengzon said on the sidelines of the Hospitality Investment Conference Philippines yesterday.

The department is also allocating P24 billion this year for its convergence program with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to ensure access roads to major tourist destinations are constructed and properly maintained.

Furthermore, he stressed the importance of expanding the capacity of the country in terms of hotel rooms and accommodations, not just in Metro Manila but in secondary gateways as well.

“It is important to get international brands in secondary destinations because it helps raise the profile of the destinations, thus driving stronger demand,” Bengzon said.

The star rating system initiative of the DOT for hotels and resorts, on the other hand, remains under review. It was originally scheduled to start last November but was postponed due to continuous dialogues with hotel and resort owners.

The new star rating of the DOT is targeted to bring the system in line with those applied in other countries. The formal classification comprises five levels, ranging from one to five stars, which is based on a point system focusing on inventory, availability, condition and quality of facilities.

The DOT hopes to gain the confidence of foreign and domestic travelers who visit the Philippines for business and leisure and raise the country’s tourism competitiveness.

ACIRC AIR BENGZON BILLION COUNTRY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM DOT HOSPITALITY INVESTMENT CONFERENCE PHILIPPINES METRO MANILA UNDERSECRETARY BENITO BENGZON
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