Her name is Gabby Grantham, she is a US Citizen from Filipino origin and she was officially designed as the Philippines Fifth Million International Tourist on December 21. The New York-based traveller was welcomed with much fanfare at Manila NAIA Airport by Department of Tourism (DOT) Assistant Secretary Alan Canizal and Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr.. Mrs Grantham was on her way to visit her maternal grandparents on Cebu Island and to discover Palawan. She was rewarded with a package tour with hotel accommodation.
Talking to local media, Benito Bengzon Jr. highlighted that the fifth-million visitor was a very “significant” event as a lot of hard work was put into achieving it. “This milestone is a result of the collaborative and sustained efforts of all partners in tourism industry,” he said. The DOT expects 5.2 million travellers for the whole year 2015.
The next step according to Bengzon is to double the number of travellers to 10 million, a number that the Undersecretary hopes to achieve before the end of the decade. Worldwide communication campaigns have already been boosted but the Philippines will need to speed up efforts now to improve its infrastructure – in a bid to ease travel around the country- and open fully its skies to all ASEAN carriers. Restrictions still remain today for Manila.