May 19, 2024

Sustainable tourism is now at the core of the Department of Tourism’s development plan with the country increasingly getting the attention of serious markets around the world.  

In presenting the country’s tourism development plan, Department of Tourism Usec. Arturo Boncato Jr., said that the tourism industry in 2018 contributed 12.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and produced 5.4 million employment opportunities, which comprised 13 percent of the total employment in the Philippines.

With the increasing foreign tourist arrivals, Boncato also reported that each tourist spends an average of $120.60 per day and usually stays around the country for an average of nine days.

Domestic tourism is also booming with around 111.4 million local tourists recorded in 2018 with total expenditures of around P61 billion.

Given the boom in the tourism industry, aside from pushing for a competitive, sustainable and inclusive tourism destinations, Boncato reiterated the importance of responsible tourism both to industry stakeholders and tourists, foreign and local.

Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority Chief Operating Officer Pocholo Paragas talked about the government initiatives and programs on sustainable tourism infrastructure development. 

For Cordillera, DOT OIC Regional Director Jovy Ganongan confirmed the increasing tourist , wherein the 2,185,877 arrivals in 2018 was up by 10.97 percent compared to the 2017 figure of 1,969,707 million.

Ganongan said that with the convergence program of the DOT and the Department of Public Works and Highways, P7.8 billion was already invested for the paving of 280.76 kilometers of roads leading to tourist destinations. More related projects are in the pipeline.

Bannering the region’s tourism slogan, “Find yourself in the Cordillera,” Ganongan called on stakeholders to encourage tourists to immerse themselves in culture, adventure, and nature and make their stories, build memories, and enjoy the experience of being in the region.

DOT also awarded plaques of recognition to star-rated establishments in the region led by the Baguio Country Club (5 star),  The Manor and its sister facility, the Forest Lodge (4-star). – Carlito C. Dar