The Philippines tourism sector continues to surpass expectations, welcoming a record 3 million international visitors throughout 2007. Led by Secretary Joseph Durano, the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) received kudos from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which rated the department’s…
The Philippines tourism sector continues to surpass expectations, welcoming a record 3 million international visitors throughout 2007. Led by Secretary Joseph Durano, the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) received kudos from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which rated the department’s tourism campaign as the best improved in Asia.
“Before last year, tourists in the country only numbered 1.7 to 1.9 million,” said Durano, whose niche marketing campaign is well on its way to achieving its goal of 5 million visitors by 2010.
Tourist arrivals from the North American market continue to lead in number, with steady growth from the U.S. and a sharp increase from Canada. The European market also performed very well for the Philippines in 2007, with visitors from Russia growing by 128 percent. Travelers from other Asian countries – most notably from Korea and Japan – have been flocking to the Philippines in record numbers as well.
In total, tourism revenue throughout 2007 is estimated to have brought nearly US$5 million to the Philippine economy, much of which has been reinvested into infrastructure developments that will continue to improve tourism.
New developments to the country’s tourism infrastructure include the addition of 20,000 hotel rooms with a focus on luxury resorts, and major improvements to international and secondary airports through the country, including two new airports in Central Philippines, declared the country’s “Super Tourism Region” by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Secretary Durano has been working with the president to develop the region, while at the same time protecting the pristine natural resources that make it such a rich eco-tourism destination.
One of the Philippines’ strengths is the diversity that exists across the 7,107 islands that make up the archipelagic nation. Boasting a wide range of ecology, the country sustains over 32 eco-tourism sites, including 27 protected areas such as Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park in Palawan, a Mecca for dive enthusiasts with two distinct reef systems separated by a four-mile channel.
Other hotspots, such as the legendary “White Beach” of Boracay and the “Chocolate Hills” of Bohol, remain a major draw for vacationers who continue to pour into the country in droves through international gateways in cosmopolitan Manila and the picturesque city-island of Cebu.