Development of other cities to spread benefits of tourism

A tourism industry leader is pushing the development of other cities across the country to spread the benefits of tourism, as foreign tourist arrivals are expected to reach up to 1.3 million by the end of 2022.

In a webinar, Tourism Congress of the Philippines Jojo Clemente cited Iloilo City which has become a preferred destination for the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), and “with the supporting infrastructure around it, rebuild itself into a destination.”

“Take advantage of the MICE segment like other cities have done,” he said.

Clemente said there are urban cities like Metro Manila and Cebu but “there is also I think something to be said about the smaller cities around the country.”

“Just focus on developing the cultural aspect, the historical aspect, the culinary aspect of the city, and that is something we can continue to promote to our clients when we talk to them,” he added, underscoring the need to make cities more attractive.

Clemente said travelers are looking for more experiential tours, active and tactile activities, tours that explain and show the culture and history of the Philippines on a deeper scale, culinary experiences, and destinations with more open spaces and less people.

He added that having sustainable practices in place that would address the expected influx of tourists is also important.

As tourism flourishes in the next three years, Clemente said the country needs to develop more destinations and gateways, have close government and private sector partnership, appropriate budget for Department of Tourism (DOT) and marketing to be in step with its Asean neighbors, and create disaster/calamity fund for the tourism industry in case of another pandemic-like event.

“We need investments for tourism infrastructure –hotels, airports, ferries,” he said.

Clemente further said demand continues to remain robust in the next few months, and expects more arrivals for the winter season of 2022 barring any unforeseen events.

“My fearless forecast is that by the end of the year, we should be seeing numbers of about 1 million to 1.2 (million) to 1.3 million total arrivals by the end of 2022. It’s a far cry from the 8.26 million that we had in 2019, but considering where we came from, those numbers actually bode quite well for the Philippine (tourism) industry,” he said.

He added foreign tourist arrivals reached 313,050 from February 10 to April 24 this year.

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