The Philippines hopes to double its tourism revenues and targets at least 4.8 million foreign visitor arrivals in 2023.
Department of Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco revealed the projections when she bared DOT efforts to expedite tourism’s recovery.
Frasco said DOT seeks to attract 4.8 million visitors and generate at least USD5.8 billion in revenue.
Data show the Philippines has already breached its 1.7 million arrivals target for 2022, hitting over 2.46 million tourists and P149 billion in receipts.
With the administration’s focus on tourism and the various measures implemented to ease travel, Frasco expressed her optimism Manila could even surpass the pre-pandemic tourism figures before 2025.
DOT’s initial forecast indicated that Manila will not reach more than 8 million tourists until after 2025, a projection Frasco described as “alarming”.
“To me, that was an alarming projection in a sense that 2025 is so far off for us to obtain our pre-pandemic levels. That really forced us to take an inward look as to how we can expedite the recovery,” she told reporters.
“Having set out policies under the Marcos administration, precisely to serve the more aggressive approach towards tourism recovery, we now see that we have breached the previous projection and the high projection for this year,” she added.
Aside from constructing rest areas and improving connectivity for inbound tourists, Frasco presented more initiatives DOT sets to undertake in the next few months.
These include showcasing the Philippines as a major and top cruise destination by 2023, coordinating with relevant offices to ease visa processing, and strengthening the promotion of Mindanao — especially for halal tourism.
Frasco also said DOT and the Department of National Defense will shortly sign a Memorandum of Agreement on how to obtain necessary data to determine the “most ideal areas to begin the process of reopening Mindanao.”
For halal tourism, DOT eyes tourists from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East, she said. (PNA)