Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Philippines expects $10B from tourism

BusinessWorld Online

BORACAY ISLAND, AKLAN — The tourism industry could contribute as much as $10 billion to the economy this year, especially with the opening of 2,089 planned new hotel rooms nationwide, a Cabinet official said here yesterday.

Tourism Secretary Joseph H. Durano said the new rooms to be opened this year will require investments of about $5 billion and are expected to generate 3,000 new jobs.

Tourist spending, meanwhile, is estimated to reach $4-$5 billion this year from $4.8 billion last year.

"What we want to see for this yearthe overall contribution of tourism to the economy is about $10 billion," he told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.

President Gloria M. Arroyo stressed that a stronger tourism industry is crucial to responding effectively to the global financial crisis by boosting revenues and providing additional jobs. In her speech before the Cabinet meeting, she said the country should continue to promote tourism, which she dubbed as the Philippines’ "flag bearer in economic progress and development." "Tourism is one of the sectors we have to strengthen as our response to the global meltdownwe will continue to push it to provide jobs and vast opportunities to our people," she said.

Citing government data, Mrs. Arroyo said tourist arrivals grew by an average of 10.6% from 2004-2008, while investments for new hotels reached P550 billion from 2005-2007.

She said investors had committed to put up almost 7,000 new hotel and resort rooms, 2,000 of which will open this year.

Boracay, a top tourist destination, will continue to be a tourism frontliner, the President said, citing a 6% increase in tourist arrivals last year to more than 51,000 from 48,000.

She stressed improved roads and airports have helped boost tourism in Boracay including expansion of the Caticlan Airport, construction of sewer lines, as well as construction of new ports. — BSSD

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