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Tourist arrivals reach record high in H1.

Tourist arrivals hit a record 2.6 million in the first half this year generating P111 billion in tourist receipt.

Tourism Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncato Jr. told reporters at the launch of the latest Red Planet Hotel in Amorsolo, Makati that the first semester record performance was 7.6 percent higher than the same period last year.

This has made them confident they are going to hit the revised 5.5 million tourists arrivals target for the year from the original target of 6 million. The Department of Tourism has set a 10 million tourist arrival figure by 2016.

As of end June, tourist arrivals were still led by South Koreans, which had 642,000, an increase of 17.6 percent from a year ago.

Other top markets include Singapore, Indonesia, Middle East and the United Kingdom. DOT sees new potential markets like New Zealand and other European countries.

Boncato noted that foreign tourist receipts are expected to further increase this year as the average spend per tourist has increased to P4,989 a night. Total foreign tourist receipts last year reached $4.8 billion.

Boncato noted that government investments to open up roads leading to sites and tourist destination areas would help bring more tourists into the islands.

Boncato also stressed that domestic tourism is actually the genuine backbone of the country's tourism. He noted there are 56 million domestic tourists this year from only 44 million last year.

For the 2014-2015, the government has allocated P30 billion for tourism road infrastructure priority (TRIP) program. Boncato said the budget, which is being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways has a very good absorption rate.

Some of those roads have been completed and some are still under construction. The absorption rate of the budget is high since these are "last mile" roads while others are circumferential roads.

The TRIP program seeks to open access to tourist sites that are inaccessible to tourists from regions 1 to 13. This development is expected to provide more business activities and entrepreneurship's in the countryside.

Boncato even said that tourism has the potential to overtake the business process outsourcing industry as the top export commodity. Today, tourism is the third after business process outsourcing and electronics.


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Title Annotation:Business News
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Aug 15, 2015
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