THE Philippine tourism industry has contributed about $7 billion (about P404.02 billion) in foreign visitor receipts in the first 10 months of 2023, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco announced during the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) on Nov. 15 in California, USA.
Frasco showcased the country’s tourism gains and recovery efforts post-pandemic when she joined the economic team of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. in heralding the various investment opportunities in the Philippines to the international business community during the PEB at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, California.
This amount is around 190 percent higher compared to the $2.47 billion in estimated visitor receipts recorded last year.
“We have received over 4.63 million international visitors which constitutes 96 percent of our entire year’s target, contributing over $7 billion to our economy,” Frasco said.
The Secretary noted the country’s economic managers have manifested that tourism is the second top economic driver for the Philippines in the first half of 2023.
To note, 2022 concluded with tourism contributing 6.2 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“As we usher in this golden era of tourism, the work of our President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has been to rally the entire nation, including the public and the private sector, from the national to the local governments, across the entire tourism value chain, to articulate that tourism is a priority.
This prioritization, and if I may quote our President, goes beyond the mere provision of economic opportunities and jobs. Rather, it stems from the deep love that all of us Filipinos have for our country,” she added.
During the panel discussion of the country’s economic managers, the tourism chief shared how the goal of transforming the Philippines into a tourism powerhouse in Asia is being materialized by the DOT and as infrastructure investments are prioritized through the Marcos administration’s “Build Better More Program.”
In improving connectivity and tourist convenience, the DOT is also collaborating with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) not only for hard infrastructure investments but more importantly, for soft infrastructure or human capital development.
This included the “Filipinization” of the country’s airports and seaports, starting with the enhancement of the Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“We have trained frontline tourism workers in our airports and seaports in the Filipino Brand of Service Excellence. This program, as a whole, has trained over 111,000 Filipino tourism workers across the tourism value chain,” the secretary added.
The DOT has also initiated the building of initial 10 tourist rest areas (TRA) in strategic locations across the country, with 18 more to come to enhance the overall tourist experience.
Moreover, the Philippines is expected to build five cruise terminals in the coming year, a project that the DOT supports under the auspices of the DOTr and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
Titled “Think Growth, Think Philippines,” the PEB in San Francisco is one of the activities of the Philippine delegation on the sidelines of President Marcos Jr. ‘s working visit to the United States for the 30th edition of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.