Wednesday, September 05, 2012

DOT expects to hit tourist arrival target despite bad weather


CEBU - The Department of Tourism still expects to hit its tourist arrival target for this year despite the bad weather.

"We will make our targets, but it's very difficult. Look at this weather. The weather in Manila did not cooperate in August. We expect a decline in August, but it will pick up in September," Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. told on Tuesday night.

"But we are determined to make the next five months very significant. We will be within the target," he said.

In the first seven months of the year, the country had 2.5 million tourist arrivals, over 55 percent of the 4.5 million target for 2012. Last year, arrivals reached 3.9 million.

The country's top tourism markets include Korea, US, Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore and Canada.

Jimenez said the DOT is promoting MICE - meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions/events - to attract more foreign visitors.

"This is about 16 times of what we earn from just regular tourism. Theoretically, if we had 10 million tourists and increase our MICE participation by about 300 percent in 2015, we would have roughly in income terms roughly the income from 18 million tourists," Jimenez said.

"Can it be done? Absolutely. In 1970s, the Philippines was the most important MICE destination in Southeast Asia. Once upon a time, the PICC was the most modern and most coveted center in Southeast Asia," he said, referring to the Philippine International Convention Center.

Jimenez said the Philippines has to catch up to regain its 1970 status, adding that Singapore had 180,000 square meters of convention space and Thailand, 200,000.

The Philippines has only 23,000 in Manila and Cebu.

Jimenez said the 2012 Asian Carriers Conference, which the Philippines is hosting in Cebu, will promote the country as one of the best MICE destinations in the region.

The 2012 ACC has over a thousand delegates from 45 countries

The conference provides a venue for industry leaders from wholesale fixed and mobile carriers, network and infrastructure providers, applications and service developers to discuss and share the latest technologies and breakthroughs in telecommunications.

The 2012 ACC is hosted by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and units Smart Communications, Digitel and Sun Cellular.


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