Philippines’s Department of Tourism Maricon B. Ebron, Deputy Chief Operating Office Marketing and Promotion TPB (Tourism Promotion Board) confirmed Philippines tourism’s stellar performance in 2017 during a media briefing. “We reached a new record with 6.62 million tourists in 2017, up 15% over 2016. “We are confident to see further growth in 2018 with an estimated 7.5 million travellers, up by 11%”, declared a confident Ebron. By 2022, the country hopes to reach 12 million international travellers.
The Philippines still remains behind ASEAN other countries. In terms of total arrivals, the archipelago arrives after Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam. “We feel however very positive about our future. First due to the fact that our President puts tourism high in its agenda and that he is speeding infrastructure development with its program “Build!Build!Build!”. We could say the same about tourism. More funds have been put to promotion and marketing”, she added.
Confidentially, Mrs. Ebron even said that she never saw in her long carrier in the tourism administration so much funds given to tourism. Refusing to give however a precise figure she joked and said: “We now pay any service and supply on time without any problem. That was not always the case before!”
The strong 2017 growth rate was achieved despite a flow of negative political reports linked to the war on drugs, and terrorism acts in Marawi City in the south of the Mindanao province.
Tourism growth will be fueled by additional budget for marketing initiatives -with some of the money being invested in the USA, Europe and Australia- while warming relations with China will help bringing more tourists to the country. China should generate over a million travellers in 2018 and became last year the second largest inbound market for the Philippines. It is expected to move by 2019 to the first position by taking over South Korea, currently Philippines top market.
The DOT wants also to further target Filipino overseas communities under its program “Bring a Friend Home”.
Promotion will target new areas such as Iloilo on Panay island – a beautiful colonial town-, Legazpi and Central Luzon particularly around Clark Airport which is looking at massive infrastructure investments. “We feel that some destinations start to be crowded such as Boracay. We consequently need to diversify tourism flows as mass tourism can also turn into a killer for popular destinations. We have so many beautiful pristine islands…”, explained Maricon B. Ebron.
She also added that 2019 will see the start of a special celebration over 500 years of Spanish naval conquests which will highlight the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan on Samar Island in the Philippines Archipelago back to 1521…