Read us | Listen to us | Watch us | Join Live Events | Turn Off Ads | Live |

Click on your language to translate this article:

Afrikaans Afrikaans Albanian Albanian Amharic Amharic Arabic Arabic Armenian Armenian Azerbaijani Azerbaijani Basque Basque Belarusian Belarusian Bengali Bengali Bosnian Bosnian Bulgarian Bulgarian Catalan Catalan Cebuano Cebuano Chichewa Chichewa Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Chinese (Traditional) Corsican Corsican Croatian Croatian Czech Czech Danish Danish Dutch Dutch English English Esperanto Esperanto Estonian Estonian Filipino Filipino Finnish Finnish French French Frisian Frisian Galician Galician Georgian Georgian German German Greek Greek Gujarati Gujarati Haitian Creole Haitian Creole Hausa Hausa Hawaiian Hawaiian Hebrew Hebrew Hindi Hindi Hmong Hmong Hungarian Hungarian Icelandic Icelandic Igbo Igbo Indonesian Indonesian Irish Irish Italian Italian Japanese Japanese Javanese Javanese Kannada Kannada Kazakh Kazakh Khmer Khmer Korean Korean Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kyrgyz Kyrgyz Lao Lao Latin Latin Latvian Latvian Lithuanian Lithuanian Luxembourgish Luxembourgish Macedonian Macedonian Malagasy Malagasy Malay Malay Malayalam Malayalam Maltese Maltese Maori Maori Marathi Marathi Mongolian Mongolian Myanmar (Burmese) Myanmar (Burmese) Nepali Nepali Norwegian Norwegian Pashto Pashto Persian Persian Polish Polish Portuguese Portuguese Punjabi Punjabi Romanian Romanian Russian Russian Samoan Samoan Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic Serbian Serbian Sesotho Sesotho Shona Shona Sindhi Sindhi Sinhala Sinhala Slovak Slovak Slovenian Slovenian Somali Somali Spanish Spanish Sudanese Sudanese Swahili Swahili Swedish Swedish Tajik Tajik Tamil Tamil Telugu Telugu Thai Thai Turkish Turkish Ukrainian Ukrainian Urdu Urdu Uzbek Uzbek Vietnamese Vietnamese Welsh Welsh Xhosa Xhosa Yiddish Yiddish Yoruba Yoruba Zulu Zulu

Philippines targets 8.2 million tourists in 2019


The Philippines welcomed 7,127,168 foreign visitors in 2018, and the Philippine Department of Tourism saying it is aiming for 8.2 million this year.

The department has vowed to break last year’s record for the number of foreign tourists visiting the country.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat said the target is achievable because last year’s milestone occurred despite the closure of the country’s flagship destination and the department’s change of leadership.

“In creating a culture of sustainable tourism, we have had some challenges in instilling a paradigm shift in our popular spots where unsustainable practices have become the normal, day-to-day operations,” she told Arab News.

“But thankfully,” the rehabilitation of Boracay island “started a national movement to be more conscious of our environment,” she said.

This has inspired and empowered local communities to make their respective destinations cleaner and more sustainable, while the government focuses on preserving the biodiversity and capacity of tourist attractions, Puyat added. “This always equates to a better experience for our tourists,” she said.

Asked how the Department of Tourism plans to sustain growth, Puyat said: “We will go heavy in our marketing and promotions to sustain the growth of our key markets, while increasing awareness about our country’s beautiful destinations in emerging markets.”

This year, the department is hosting two major aviation events, Routes Asia and CAPA Asia Aviation, to explore new routes and development opportunities for smoother and faster travel to and from the country.

This, Puyat said, is part of efforts to boost the Philippines’ bid to become an Asian aviation hub.

These upcoming events will showcase the newly developed Mactan-Cebu International Airport, and will bolster the country’s international networks and local tourism, she added. “It’s all systems go for these two major aviation events,” she said.

Through both events, the Philippine aviation industry looks forward to further capacity and infrastructure enhancements in the coming years, added Puyat.

Earlier this year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources led government efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay, similar to what was done in Boracay.

Manila Bay is known for its world-famous sunsets, but over the years it has become one of Asia’s most polluted bays. Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu described it as a “magnified cesspool.”

To restore the bay’s pristine condition, the government in January launched a massive cleanup operation.

Asked if the rehabilitation will help attract more visitors, Puyat said: “In fact it already is.” She added: “For the longest time, the bay’s beach area was filled with garbage. Now you can find quite a number of tourists.”