3M foreign tourists visit RP in 2009, same as in ’08


By Marilou Guieb – Despite the economic crisis, destructive typhoons, the threat of kidnapping and gory stories of massacres, the Philippines managed to stay afloat with tourism arrivals.

Foreign arrivals still averaged 3 million, pretty much the same as in 2008. “Zero growth is better than going negative,” said Oscar Palabyab, tourism undersecretary.

The year 2009 showed a reduction in Japanese and American arrivals. But in Baguio City, Europeans topped tourist arrivals.

Palabyab lauded the city for recovering well from the onslaught of typhoon Pepeng, which destroyed major road systems and turned away the much-awaited Advertising Congress originally scheduled to be held here last November. The congress was held instead in Subic, Zambales.

He said that only those bound to travel during the typhoons changed plans. “It helped that we were honest and did not hold back information on the real situation here,” he said. Calamities, he said, are mere disruptions.

Domestic tourism is now the bread and butter of Philippine tourism, Palabyab said, due to the global economic crisis.

Palabyab pegged local tourists at 16 million in a random-sampling survey. Two years ago, he said, surveys showed that Filipinos made two trips a year with an average spending of P16,000.

The Cordillera region is now the third most favored destination, according to tourism rankings.

Cebu recovered its top ranking as a destination, and most encouraging, Camarines Sur surged to second place.

Wakeboarding did the trick for Camarines Sur. More than 1 million came to enjoy the water-sports adventure in the first nine months of 2009.

The Camarines Sur provincial government developed a niche in artificial water bodies and promoted wakeboarding. Pili town, a dry and bare sprawling ground, became a major tourist destination in the province.

With an airport in Naga, Legazpi City benefited and so did surrounding areas, such as Iriga, which built a convention center.

The Camarines Sur model is an example of cooperative development, which does not just offer one anchor or destination, Palabyab said.

Bohol also doubled its tourism figures and Palawan, with two heritage sites and an offering of clear waters and verdant mountains, continued to enjoy the interest of tourists, said Palabyab.

He said though that Puerto Princesa’s mayor, Edward Hagedorn, is reluctant in promoting a full tourism program for the region because Palawan may not be ready.

Baguio City is now promoting a cooperative tourism format under the banner “Where the Adventure Begins.” Offering the city’s lodging conveniences, Baguio is strongly promoting mountain-adventure thrills, kayaking, white-water rafting, rock climbing, caving and local culture experiences in neighboring Benguet province and the rest of the Cordillera region.

Under the Arroyo administration, this is also made possible by the State of the Nation Address projects, which interconnects roads and makes travel from the Cordillera Administrative Region, the Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley more convenient.

The Baguio-Banaue Road, for example, which opened this year, cuts travel from Baguio to Ifugao to just a little over four hours from the old 10-hour travel time.

Palabyab said that even typhoons, normally a dreaded event, can be promoted as a tourism package, saying that in many parts of the world, typhoons are unheard of the way it happens in the Philippines.

Tourists can experience typhoons from the comfort of condominiums. “It’s just a way of marketing it,” he said.

Palabyab, however, warned against the “hot pan de sal” syndrome which Camarines Sur’s success in wakeboarding may spur. “I’d rather see an area look for its own cutting edge and make realistic targets,” he said.

Palabyab said the Philippines retains a comfortable tourism market and need not worry like Singapore and Thailand, which have a high volume base of tourists and where tourism is a big industry, and where the drastic plummeting of tourist volume can be more felt.

Palabyab said the implementation of a new tourism law will give the industry more capacity to create demand and develop supply. He said that a target of 3.1 million tourists for 2010 will be a very good target.

Find more like this: Tourism

One Response to 3M foreign tourists visit RP in 2009, same as in ’08

  • Michael Nicholas says:

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    Hello everyone Visit,

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    Greetings from OssyRoyal Travel & Tours based in Lagos Nigeria Africa, incorporated in 2005 with Corporate Affairs Commission Nigeria. We wish to use this great opportunity to inform you about Nigerian potentials in tourism industry and hospitality.

    ECOTOURISM

    From the soaring plateaus of the mountain tops of Obudu to the Rain forests of Afi, from the Waterfalls of Agbokim and Kwa to the spiralling ox-bow Calabar River which provides sights and images of the Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar Marina, Calabar Residency Museum and the Calabar Slave Park along its course, there is always a thrilling adventure awaiting the eco-tourist visiting Cross River State.

    I am Calabar, an historic seaport city and former slave trading post, strategically located on the Atlantic Coast near the Cameroon border. I am capital of Nigeria’s Cross River State and considered the future superstar of West African tourism. That bright, shiny future is just around the corner according to the Governor’s active timetable. In terms of economic potential, I am located near Port Harcourt, heart of Nigeria’s petroleum industry, a magnet for business travelers from all corners of the world.

    We do send tourist to Europe especially Denmark and other Scandinavian Countries and South America and Caribbean Island for tourism in other to promote and market tourism centers in the above mentioned continent tourism attraction viewing centers in our own little way.

    Michael Nicholas Osita

    MD/CEO

    OssyRoyal Travel & Tours

    E-mail: mnosita@yahoo.com

    Tel:+234-7040727423

    Tel: +234-8038259271

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