Cebu News

DOT on track to hit visitor arrival target

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman
DOT on track to hit visitor arrival target
This undated photo shows the press conference room of the Department of Tourism in Makati City.
Philstar.com / Erwin Cagadas

CEBU, Philippines — The Department of Tourism’s (DOT) target for foreign visitor arrivals for 2023 is now at 99.16 percent, with a little over a month left.

During the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) the other day, Cebuana DOT Secretary Christina Frasco said that from January to November 23, 2023, the country already saw an estimated 4.76-million international visitor arrivals, or just 40,000 more to reach the 4.8-million target.

The foreign visitor arrivals in 2022 was 2.65 million.

Frasco said that to reach the target is a sign of the industry's recovery and return to pre-pandemic figures of foreign visitor arrivals.

“Therefore, with great optimism and the country’s ability to achieve new targets, and with the continued drive and collaborative action between government and the private sector, we hope to be able to recover our pre-pandemic numbers sooner than what has been projected,” she said.

Frasco also shared that aside from surpassing last year’s number of international tourist arrivals, DOT also already surpassed its target to train 100,000 tourism workers on the "Filipino Brand of Service Excellence" (FBSE) program, with 118,698 as of the last count.

She also thanked TCP for inviting her to attend its gathering which carried the theme “Gearing Up for the Tourism Industry’s New Chapter.”

“I thank the Tourism Congress of the Philippines for the opportunity to share with you the strides we have made as far as tourism (is concerned). post-pandemic. The president of the Tourism Congress (of the Philippines), Bob (Zozobrado), is absolutely correct in citing that the Philippines is entering a new era. Afterall, it’s been 50 years since the founding of the Philippine (Department of) Tourism,” Frasco said.

She also reiterated the country’s thrust to be a tourism powerhouse in Asia and the rest of the world.

“We are now on the cusp of the golden age of Philippine tourism, where our country is poised to take its place in Asia and the world. Our strong collaboration is here to stay because we have shown that we are stronger together. Tourism is not only the work of the government, but also of the private sector," she said.

"The essential tool is that we unlock our full potential by facing our challenges together, with one community, as an industry with a common goal," she added.

DOT acknowledges the TCP as "an important private sector consultative body which assists the government in the development and implementation of tourism policies."

As the "umbrella organization of all private tourism enterprises in the country", it is "also responsible for developing a strong and institutionalized partnership between the government, through DOT, and the private sector.

For his part, Zozobrado also thanked Frasco, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia's daughter, for her guidance.

“With your guidance, we can be assured that the tourism industry will continue to prosper,” he said.

“We have survived a very difficult chapter in our existence as industry professionals. But the next chapter is going to be more exciting because...we are ready for whatever challenges there are and we will survive all those challenges,” he added.

Marga Nograles, chief operating officer of the Tourism Promotions Board, the DOT’s marketing arm, on the other hand, highlighted in her speech how important collaboration is for the industry.

“At the Tourism Promotions Board, we align with the Department of Tourism's vision that by 2028, the Philippines will be the preferred destination for sustainable, diverse, and enjoyable travel," she said.

"Today's gathering underscores our commitment to fostering strategic partnerships with public and private stakeholders to bring this vision to fruition,” she added. — (FREEMAN)

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