Development of other cities for tourism pushed

A TOURISM industry leader is pushing the development of other cities across the country to spread the benefits of tourism, as foreign tourist arrivals are expected to reach up to 1.3 million this year.

In a recent webinar, Tourism Congress of the Philippines Jose “Jojo” Clemente 3rd cited Iloilo City, which has become a preferred destination for the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), and “with the supporting infrastructure around it, rebuild itself into a destination.”

“Take advantage of the MICE segment like other cities have done,” he said.

Clemente cited the need to focus on development of cultural, historical, and culinary aspects of cities and make cities more attractive.

According to him, travelers are looking for more experiential tours, active and tactile activities, tours that explain and show the culture and history of the Philippines on a deeper scale, culinary experiences, and destinations with more open spaces and fewer people.

Clemente said sustainable practices that would address the expected influx of tourists is also important.

He added that the country needs to develop more destinations and gateways, have close government and private sector partnership, appropriate budget for the Department of Tourism, and create a calamity fund for the tourism industry in case of another pandemic-like event.

“We need investments for tourism infrastructure — hotels, airports, ferries,” he said.

“My fearless forecast is that by the end of the year, we should be seeing numbers of about 1 million to 1.2 [million] to 1.3 million total arrivals by the end of 2022. It’s a far cry from the 8.26 million that we had in 2019, but considering where we came from, those numbers actually bode quite well for the Philippine [tourism] industry,” he added.

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