DOT gears for millions of visitors and travellers by 2016

By Lily O Ramos

MANILA, June 15 (PNA) -- The Department of Tourism (DOT) is preparing for the onslaught of some 6.3 million international arrivals and over 32 million domestic travellers by 2016.

Tourism Secretary Alberto A. Lim said that in order to achieve this DOT is focusing on three key strategies to make the Philippines become a "must experience" destination in Asia.

Lim was emphatic in saying that to improve market access and connectivity, DOT must push for the rapid expansion of secondary international airports and address traffic bottlenecks at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

This means strengthening compliance with international air safety regulations, adopting policies that facilitate the expansion of air services and visa-free access in key growth markets.

It is also imperative that DOT and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) must implement a strategic access infrastructure development program between the secondary international airports and strategic destinations for pleasant and easy transport.

DOT will also work with government agencies and local government units to develop and market competitive tourist destinations and products (one town,one product).

This also prioritizes the use of existing infrastructure by facilitating the development of mixed-use tourism complexes and community-based programs in strategic locations.

To further make things easier for tourist entrepreneuring arrivals/visitors, a mandatory tourism enterprise accreditation and certification system that would be attractive to investment with simplified business set-up and licensing procedure.

Lim added efforts must be enhanced to safeguard and preserve natural and cultural sites and vulnerable groups (native people, animals or treasures) for posterity.

"Of course, the combined public-private sector must fund marketing campaigns that would target key- growth areas," said Lim.

The international gateways for Northern Philippines are the International airports of Laoag in the Ilocos, Clark and Subic in Pampanga and Manila.

For Central Philippines, there's Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Cebu-Mactan and Panglao. And for Southern Philippines, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Zamboanga international airports.

Lim noted that other airports such as Kalibo in Aklan will keep on availing of direct charter foreign air services to service tourist-rich destinations like Boracay Island.

Top domestic tourist destinations for 22.8 million Filipinos since 2009 are Metro Manila, Camarines Sur, Cebu, Davao City, Cagayan Valley, Baguio, Boracay, Zambales, Puerto Princesa, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Camiguin Island and Ilocos Norte.

On the other hand, the Philippines' Top Five foreign markets, according to rank for the first four months of 2011, are South Korea (286,018), USA (229,200), Japan (129,223), China(71,113) and Australia (56,681). (PNA)
DCT/LOR