Boracay Island. | UNTV Drone
MANILA, Philippines – Despite the six-month closure of the country’s top tourist destination Boracay Island, the Department of Tourism (DOT) noted a significant increase in the number of tourist arrivals this year.
From January to October, the number of visitors coming into the Philippines has increased by 7.43%.
Specifically, the country has welcomed around 5.8 million visitors this year — that’s 400,000 people more than last year’s 5.4 million tally.
Top international visitors came from South Korea, China, Unites States, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore and Malaysia.
The tourism sector as a whole also made significant improvements. The agency was able to establish a number of partnerships with several private firms from the business sector who are willing to support the DOT’s campaigns and promotions.
Among the programs the DOT is promoting include the promotion of various tourist spots in the country; the ongoing rehabilitation of popular destinations, beach activities, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions as well as promotion of culinary tourism.
The rehabilitation of Boracay island is also being touted as the highlight of DOT’s accomplishments. Boracay reopened with a number of new restrictions that include limiting the number of visitors to maintain the pristine beauty of the island.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Boracay’s closure has impacted the number of tourists in the country that’s why they are promoting other destinations as well.
These include Cebu, Siquijor, and Siargao Island which was recently recognized as the Best Island in Asia by the international travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveler.
“So definitely when you have a carrying capacity that will actually also affect the number of tourist arrivals. But what we are doing is now we are promoting alternative destinations so at least hindi ang Boracay ang alam ng mga turista but other alternative tourist destinations,” said the Tourism Secretary.
Also, among the factors that helped in promoting Philippine tourism this year was the government’s efforts to modernize major gateways in the country such as the installation of e-gates in airport terminals, the opening of the new Bohol International Airport in Panglao, improvements in world’s friendliest resort airport, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport as well as a number of tourism road projects.
“You can’t imagine how many text messages I received from people I don’t know, asking that their tourist destinations should also be rehabilitated like Boracay,” Romulo-Puyat said.
With the return of the century-old Balangiga bells, the DOT is expecting a much higher influx of tourists in the country. The Secretary plans to visit Balangiga town in Eastern Samar next year.
In January, the DOT will review its National Tourism Development Plan to include the Tourism Congress of the Philippines to further boost the country’s tourism industry and achieve its target of 7 million tourist arrivals in 2019. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)
PH attracts more tourists despite Boracay closure
Mayon Volcano. PVI/Chinky Go
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) shared on Wednesday (August 8) the data of increased tourist arrivals to the Philippines from January to April 2018.
The agency is pleased to report that despite the closure of the Boracay Island, the country has achieved a staggering 11.35% increase in the number of visitors from 2,349,980 in 2017 to 2,640,231 in the first four months of 2018.
“We were pleasantly surprised that it increased by 11.35% this June,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
Most of the visitors were Chinese and Korean nationals.
Meanwhile, the DOT has ordered the Interagency Task Force on Boracay Rehabilitation to issue a memorandum for the reopening of Boracay Island on October 26.
The government expects further increase in the number of visitors once the island is opened. – Grace Casin / Marje Pelayo
Senate urges probe on P60M DOT ad placement controversy
Sen. Trillanes will file a plunder case against Tulfo siblings in relation to P60-M advertisement controversy.
PASAY CITY, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III wants an investigation on the ad placement controversy between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the state-run People’s Television Network (PTV4), particularly in the program hosted by Ben and Erwin Tulfo.
The Tulfo brothers are siblings of former Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo who later resigned amid allegations of corruption.
Sotto said he wants to check on the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee about the status of the resolution filed seeking to probe the alleged irregularities in the said P60 million advertisement deal and because the Tulfo brothers remain firm in refusing to refund the payment.
“I’ll talk to them. I’ll talk to the Chairman, and find out what’s brewing in the committee. There must be other reasons. That’s why the committee in Congress step in,” the Senate President said.
The issue started when the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the P60 million released by DOT as placement fee to PTV’s program “Kilos Pronto” due to lack of necessary documents. An issue on conflict of interest followed because the deal was done under the administration of Teo, a sister of Ben and Erwin.
Meanwhile, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is brewing a complaint against the Tulfo brothers.
“Unang una, kaya nga ninakaw iyan dahil walang planong ibigay. So doon na lang iyan sa plunder case magkakaalaman,” Trillanes said.
Teo earlier defended her brothers saying they had no hand in the said placement deal. – Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo
CA approves confirmation of Tourism Secretary Romulo-Puyat
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat
PASAY CITY, Philippines – With no objections, the Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed the appointment of Bernadette Romulo-Puyat as Secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT.)
She was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte on May 8 to replace Wanda Tulfo-Teo who resigned over the controversial P60-million ad placement of DOT on the television show produced by her brothers.
Prior to her appointment to DOT, Romulo-Puyat was agriculture undersecretary for administration, agribusiness and marketing.
She was sworn into office on May 14. – UNTV News & Rescue.