DOT chief wants sustained efforts to promote Philippine
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - December 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine tourism sector needs to sustain the international interest it has gained in 2019 by strengthening its promotions, as well as expanding its offerings, the chief of the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

“Global interest in the Philippines as a tourist destination is already there, we just need to sustain the interest by intensifying our tourism promotions, and introduce the country’s hidden gems or destinations that have yet to be discovered by tourists,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Puyat said the country’s tourism destination has been gaining global attention this year, particularly for its efforts toward sustainable tourism.

“A lot of people want to come here that’s why Boracay became number one (top destination in the country) because of the sustainable tourism efforts,” Puyat said.

“This year’s winning streak tells us that for as long as we remain committed to our advocacies and long-term goals, we can reach greater heights for the industry,” Puyat said.

Despite its six-month closure last year, Boracay remained a favorite among international travelers, as it was voted as the best island in Asia by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, as well as ranking ninth in Travel +Leisure’s Best Island in Asia list.

The DOT was also recognized by the Japan Tourism Awards (JTA) this year for its efforts in promoting sustainability with the closure of Boracay.

“The award giving body cited the socially advanced initiatives by taking a high risk of closing and pursuing a cohesive effort to implement the physical, social, environmental and social recovery of the world-renowned resort,” DOT earlier said.

The JTA recognizes the efforts of tourism organizations around the globe that contribute to the development and expansion of the industry also honoring exceptional efforts of groups towards sustainable tourism development.

Apart from Boracay, the island of Palawan also sustained international interest this year as it was among the top 15 best islands in the world named by Travel+ Leisure.

The island also landed on CNN’s Travel list of 10 of the world’s beautiful islands.

In addition, CNN also included the city of Vigan in its list of Asia’s most picturesque towns.

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ diving tourism offerings also gained traction this year as it was named as the World’s Leading Dive Destination at the World Travel Awards.

Palawan’s Amanpulo Resort was also recognized by the WTA as the world’s leading dive resort. 

In October,the Philippines earned its first Asia’s Leading Dive Destination award at the WTA’s gala event for Asia and Oceania in Vietnam after multiple nominations since 2006.

Puyat earlier cited the country’s growing recognition for its sustainable tourism efforts as among the drivers of the increase in tourist arrivals.

Foreign arrivals in January to October grew 15 percent to 6.8 million from 5.9 million in the same period last year.

“The collective efforts and resolve of the whole tourism industry have paid off with the continued increase in our visitor arrivals and tourist receipts as well as recognition from major international award giving bodies,”Puyat said.

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