Published on : Monday, March 12, 2018
In 2016, tourists spent about $6 billion while in the Philippines. But still, that amount is less compared to the country’s neighbors. The latest World Tourism Barometer of the UNWTO also mentioned a jump in the Philippines’ ranking to 45th from 49th in terms of tourist arrivals at 5.9 million visitors.
In spite of the improvement, the Philippines still was behind its neighbors Thailand, which was ranked 9th with 32.6 million visitors; Malaysia, at 12th with 26.8 million visitors; and Singapore, at 28th with 12.9 million visitors. Indonesia was at 35th and Vietnam was at 37th.
The private sector is now taking the initiative to develop regional airports in the Philippines. Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. submitted an unsolicited proposal for four regional gateways to the government: Iloilo International Airport, Bacolod-Silay Airport, Laguindingan Airport, and New Bohol International Airport in Panglao. The group offered to spend P148 billion and sought a 35-year concession to run those airports.
Another positive development for the Philippines tourism has been President Duterte’s drive to clean up world-renowned tourist destinations in Boracay, Mindoro, Bohol and Palawan, which have declined following unlawful mushrooming of facilities and structures, as well as congestion brought by the millions of tourists flocking to these places. Unregulated construction of hotels, resorts and other establishments has caused environmental problems on Boracay, which drew two million tourists last year.
Local governments of other island destinations like El Nido in Palawan and Panglao in Bohol were also directed to start cleaning up their areas and not wait to be censured by the President.