New Tourism Dev't Plan to Think 'Beyond Beaches'

The Philippines must think “beyond beach vacations” when promoting its tourism industry, a Department of Tourism official said at the recent unveiling of the department's National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) at the Asian Institute of Management.


Tourism Undersecretary for Tourism Development Daniel G. Corpuz said that along with sun and beach tourism, the industry must promote other things the Philippines has to offer: nature tourism, cultural tourism, leisure and entertainment tourism, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) and events tourism, health and wellness tourism, retirement tourism, cruise and nautical tourism, diving and marine sports tourism, and education tourism.

The department has set a target of 10 million international visitors to the Philippines and 56 million domestic travelers by 2016.

Corpuz said that increasing the tourist volume to the country can be achieved by developing and marketing competitive tourist products and destinations; improving market access, connectivity, and destination infrastructure; and improving institutional governance and human resources—which will need the cooperation and help of other government agencies.

“Tourism is a major instrument to contribute to national development, and the National Tourism Development Plan must be synchronized with the Philippine Development Plan,” he said.
The department's international visitor target for this year is 5.5 million, considerably more than the 4.3 million international tourist arrivals recorded last year. The top sources of international travelers to the Philippines have been South Korea, the US, Japan, and China.

The volume of domestic travelers, which was 40.7 million in 2012, is expected to increase to 44.1 million in 2013.

Tourism Assistant Secretary Roland Cañizal stressed the point that greater integration among government agencies would boost tourism development in the Philippines, such as the Department of Public Works and Highways' (DPWH) providing access roads to tourist destinations; the Department of Transportation and Communications' (DOTC) upgrading major airports; and local governments' boosting their tourism destinations.

“This is the kind of thinking that we want to cascade to all the local government units—that if they are serious about being a part of the National Tourism Development Plan, their seriousness is translated in terms of their commitment to develop their areas and to put the necessary resources to make sure that the plan is being implemented,” he said. — BM, GMA News