Robust domestic tourism fuels revision in NTDP targets
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - April 2, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is set to revise its 2022 targets under the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), but it will still have to wait for domestic tourist figures from last year before it proceeds with the adjustments, the tourism chief said.

“We’re already at 97 million (domestic tourists), but we don’t have the figures yet for 2018.We’re still waiting,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told The STAR.

Under the current NTDP, the country is targeting to hit 89.2 million domestic tourists in 2022. This target, however, was already exceeded as the country registered 97 million tourists in 2017.

“We have to revise it,” Puyat said.

Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. earlier said he expects the demand for domestic tourism to further grow as travel has become a necessity for many Filipinos, noting that domestic tourists numbers have doubled from the 45 million tourists four or five years ago.

“Over those three years, we’ve had headwinds, different kinds of challenges, but the numbers continue to grow. And I think it’s a reflection of how many Filipinos see travel as a necessity rather than a luxury,” Bengzon earlier told The Star.

Bengzon said it is millennial travelers, particularly those aged between their 20s and 30s, that is fueling the demand due to their interest for discovering the country.

In January, Puyat spearheaded the NTDP 2016-2022 mid-term review that aims to reassess the NTDP targets and DOT’s strategic action programs to make them more competitive, inclusive, and sustainable.

“During this mid-term review, we must together revisit the goals set during the inception of the plan and determine which components need fine-tuning and which ones are working wonders as drawn,” the tourism secretary earlier said.

“We have exceeded many of the NTDP targets, from our sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product or GDP, to our domestic arrivals. So I encourage all of you here to give your take in setting new industry goals,” she added during the NTDP midterm assessment attended by DOT officials, tourism stakeholders and partners from the private sector.

While the country fell short of its 7.4 million foreign arrivals target for 2018 due to the six-month closure of Boracay, Puyat is confident of reaching the 8.2 million foreign arrivals target this year.

The tourism chief’s optimism is mainly driven by the opening of more airports offering international flights such as the New Bohol Panglao International Airport and the second terminal of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

She also cited the launch of the refreshed It’s More Fun in the Philippines campaign as another factor that may lure more tourists into the country.

DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM
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