Tourists Ready for PH; PH not Ready for Tourists

MANILA, Philippines—It’s not about terrorists.

Tourists aren’t deterred by travel warnings to the Philippines, but by a host of other factors, major tourism industry players said Monday.

“There are not enough flights, not enough seat capacity, ill-prepared marketing and the quality of accommodations is not good enough,” said Alejandra Clemente, president of the Federation of Tourism Industries of the Philippines (FTIP).

Simply put, the Philippines is “not ready” to take in tourists in large numbers, Clemente said in a press conference at the Mandarin Oriental called by tourism stakeholders in support of embattled Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim.

Clemente said travel advisories cautioning foreigners about purported terrorist threats in the Philippines hardly made a dent in tourist arrivals.

She said 2.8 million arrivals had been so far recorded this year, including returning Filipinos, compared to about 3 million last year.

Even the Manila bus hostage-taking incident that left eight Chinese tourists and the Filipino gunman dead on Aug. 23 had not caused a noticeable decrease in the number of tourists, she said.