With a substantial increase in its proposed budget for next year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) wants to attract 5.5 million tourists in the Philippines next year, the agency’s officials said Thursday.
During a budget hearing at the House of Representatives, Tourism Undersecretary for Promotions Daniel Corpuz said the department plans to target an additional 1 million visitors to the Philippines in 2013.
Corpuz said the target was set after the agency received an “ambitious” proposed budget of P2.6 billion for next year—an 80-percent increase from its P1.6-billion allocation this year.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. meanwhile told the House appropriations panel that the DOT plans to achieve this goal through the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign.
“The greatest impediment to growth and tourism is plain and simple ignorance. The world was ignorant of the Philippines,” Jimenez said during the hearing.
In 2011, the DOT achieved 3.9 million tourist arrivals. During the first seven months of 2012, the agency said tourist arrivals in the Philippines already reached 2.5 million—more than half the 4.5 million target for 2012.
Lanao del Sur Rep. Pangalian Balindong, for his part, asked DOT to address runway congestion in the country’s airports to be able to encourage more tourists in the Philippines.
The government has allocated P3.2 million under in the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC)’s proposed 2013 budget for the “construction, improvement and rehabilitation of airports and navigational facilities” in the country. — RSJ, GMA News