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Freeman Cebu Business

Philippines likely to hit 6.5M arrival target

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Philippines could easily achieve the 6.5 million arrival target for this year. It may even surpass the goal if the government will address issues on infrastructure and accommodation.

Department of Tourism (DOT) consultant Robert Lim Joseph believes the country has high potential to attract more than the targeted arrival for this year considering President Rodrigo Duterte’s friendly relations with big tourism markets like China, Japan and Russia.

However, the government needs to invest on primary infrastructure that supports tourism growth, otherwise this opportunity will wash down right through the drain.

Moreover, the Philippines’ hosting of the 65th Miss Universe was a big plus for the cash-strapped government agency, Joseph said adding that the free media mileage worldwide would eventually spur interest among international travelers.

There are a lot of good reasons why the Philippines is poised to surpass the target initially set for this year, but support facilities such as airports, accommodations, transportation access, among others should be put in place before the opportunity slips away.

Cebu for instance, which is one of the tourism pillars of the country, falls short in terms of capacity.

Joseph cited the traffic congestion at NAIA as one of the barriers in attaining the high projected growth of tourism in the Philippines, among other infrastructure related concerns.

China alone, as a market is already a dependable tourism "bread-and-butter," of the Philippines, plus the renewed interest of high spending Japanese travelers, add to that the wealthy Russian globetrotters.

The new target is eight percent higher than the earlier projection of six million arrivals by year-end. Tourism receipts are also expected to hit $6.5 billion. (FREEMAN)

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