The country rallies to regulate numbers to top destinations like Boracay.

ATF 2019: Philippines walks the talk with responsible tourism

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Philippines’ jewel Boracay has reopened for tourists in October and will continue to undergo rehabilitation until December.
Philippines’ jewel Boracay has reopened for tourists in October and will continue to undergo rehabilitation until December. Photo Credit: AlexeyPelikh/Getty Images

Rising arrivals have also continued to spur tourism spend. In 2017, tourism contributed to 12.2% of the Philippine economy, a leap from 8.6% the year before.

While numbers paint a rosy picture of Philippine tourism with arrivals and receipts steadily climbing over the last five years, the country has taken steps to anchor future growth on sustainability, targeting high-spending and extended-stay visitors. 

Last year, the country estimates that nearly 7.4 million tourists visited the country, a 14.2% growth compared to the 6.48 million arrivals in 2017, according to Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines officer-in-charge, Arnold T. Gonzales, during a media briefing at ASEAN Tourism Forum in Halong Bay.

The growth in arrivals is despite the abrupt six-month closure of popular tourist destination Boracay for rehabilitation. Still, top contributing source markets Korea, China and the US together added more than three million visitors from January to October.

Rising arrivals have also continued to spur tourism spend. In 2017, tourism contributed to 12.2% of the Philippine economy, a leap from 8.6% the year before.

Moving forward, new measures have been introduced to regulate the number of tourists in Boracay, including an inter-agency task force. Only tourists with confirmed accommodation bookings can enter the island. So far, the island has 293 approved accommodations, which span 1,069 rooms.

But the task is far from over. Rehabilitation works are currently ongoing over three phases, with the second phase to end in April and a third in December. 

Responding to whether the model will serve as a model for other destinations, Gonzales said that it is closely monitoring its jewel, Palawan.

Supporting tourism growth is a steady pipeline of new hotels, airports and convention facilities in key destinations such as Bohol, Cagayan and Cebu and Metro Manila. This year, hotel brands joining Metro Manila include Novotel, The Westin, dusitD2, while Cebu will receive a Sheraton, Seda, Dusit Thani and Dusit Princess.

Upcoming airport projects include the New Manila International Airport, Zamboanga International Airport and Bicol International Airport.


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