Tourist arrivals up despite travel alerts – Palace
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - July 8, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Travel advisories issued by foreign governments against the Philippines have hardly affected the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country, a Palace official said over the weekend.

“Well, it’s not the first time that a travel warning was issued by the US and other countries. But given the numbers in tourism that we have seen, I think foreign tourist arrivals have in fact increased a bit, “ deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

She said the Aquino administration respects the “right of any country to issue precautionary measures for the safety of their citizens while visiting the Philippines.”

“In the same way that the Philippine government or our post in other countries have also issued similar warnings whenever we feel that our citizens should take extra precautions in light of events happening in other countries,” she added.

 Valte cited the alert level that the Department of Foreign Affairs issued for Filipinos in Egypt last week.

“The travel advisory (against the Philippines) was not aimed at the entire country. If you look at it, and if you look at the travel advisory issued by any country in particular, you would see that there are specific areas that were mentioned,” she said.

 â€œWe really don’t take it against them. We understand the need to do this,” she added.

 Last Friday, the US embassy advised Americans in the Philippines to take “extreme caution” when traveling to Sulu due to kidnapping threats as well as insurgency-related violence.

Australia and Canada earlier warned their citizens against traveling to the cities of Cotabato, Zamboanga and Davao following reported threats of kidnapping and terrorism in Mindanao.

Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said the local government has taken measures to beef up security in the city.

He said the travel advisories should not be taken lightly as these could have basis before they were issued.

ABIGAIL VALTE AQUINO AUSTRALIA AND CANADA COTABATO DAVAO MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ISSUED LAST FRIDAY MINDANAO ZAMBOANGA AND DAVAO
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