MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) believes the number of tourist arrivals in the country could further increase once it is provided with bigger fund.
The DOT made the statement following the slight decrease in the number of tourists visiting Mindanao since the declaration of martial law in the region.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, however, clarified it does not affect the entire tourist arrival count of the country.
“From January to June as compared to last year it’s not decreasing it’s increasing in spite of the fact that the issuance of the martial law, the Panglao incident and the Resorts World,” she said.
DOT argued that with additional amount, they will be able to further promote the beautiful places in the country that will encourage more tourists.
Tourism officials added, part of the additional funding can also be used for travel expenses and skills training of DOT’s personnel.
The lawmakers themselves said that the said amount is still not enough for the other projects of the Tourism Department such as the building of infrastructures to make other tourist destinations in the country more accessible and the construction of prominent amusement parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios in the Philippines.
Lawmakers said they will help the DOT by suggesting to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to increase its funding as long as tourism officials give them sufficient studies on how their projects will help boost tourism industry of the country.
“If you can justify with the economic managers that tourism can contribute greatly to GDP. I think if we ask for P100 billion more, it would be granted,” Surigao del Sur, 1st District Representative Prospero Pichay said.
On the other hand, A-teacher Partylist Rep. Julieta Cortuna said, “On the part of the DBM, if you are going to ask me a budget without presenting to me how much profit I’m going to generate out of the budget that you’re going to ask from me, I would not even approve it.” — Macky Libradilla | UNTV News & Rescue