The Philippine Department of Tourism aims to boost its tourist arrivals by enticing the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) into visiting the Philippines. DOT Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo made her pitch at the 20th ASEAN Tourism Ministers meeting at the sidelines of the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Singapore held from January 19 to 21, 2017.
During the meeting, Teo showed a brief video presentation of DOT’s major projects and invited her fellow ministers to very important tourism-related events that are slated in the Philippines this year: the staging of the 65th miss Universe on 30 January, the 3rd Madrid Fusion Manila on 6-8 April, and the 6th UNWTO International Conference on Tourism Statistics.
The Philippines also assumed Chairmanship and will host ASEAN @50 where the campaign to promote ASEAN as a single and unified travel destination will be launched. Teo requested for the ministers’ assistance in promoting the mentioned events to their business and outbound travelers.
“Pursuant to the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP), we would like to emphasize the importance of ASEAN working assiduously to ensure that a sustainable and inclusive growth path for tourism will be achieved. We must develop programs and policies to improve the competitiveness of ASEAN as a tourist destination, and to promote ASEAN as a single destination” Secretary Teo stressed.
The ASEAN consists of 10 member countries namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Latest data on visitor arrivals show that for November 2016, visitors from these nine countries combined, account for only 7.9% percent of the total tourist arrivals in the Philippines.
Based on the same data, among the ASEAN countries, Singapore delivered the most number of arrivals for the Philippines with 161,194 visitor arrivals followed by Malaysia (128, 077), Thailand (44, 372), Indonesia (40, 651), Vietnam (31, 555) , Brunei (7,378) Myanmar (6,832), Cambodia (3, 278) Laos (1, 112).
“We don’t have to look far to find what we are looking for. In 2016, 115 million projected international arrivals can be attributed to the ASEAN countries”, said the Tourism Chief. “Let us not forget that our neighbors, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia for instance, are considered affluent nations and major outbound travel sources,” added Teo.
Meanwhile, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’ speech at the Opening Gala of the ASEAN Tourism Forum described this year’s target of increasing international arrivals to 121 million as an “achievable objective”