MANILA: The Philippine Department of Tourism has vowed to break
the 2018 record for the number of foreign tourists visiting the
The Philippines welcomed 7,127,168 foreign visitors last year,
and the department said it is aiming for 8.2 million this
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
“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
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
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.”
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Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
Philippines targets record tourist numbers in 2019