In the recent year-end briefing of the Department of Tourism, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco maintained a confident composure in putting out the past, present, and near future of Philippine tourism in the post-pandemic.
Starting out with the 2022 figures of 2,462,140 million arrivals and 139.3M USD in receipts that exceeded previous forecast, Frasco ended with her fearless yet conservative forecast of 4.8 million arrivals in 2023; but, it was the revelations in between that made stakeholders and this writer believe that it is doable.
“What we want to do is to exceed the targets and we feel that this baseline 4.8M is but a floor not a ceiling to the tourism arrivals in the Philippines. I don’t think we should look at it with pessimism but rather with optimism in the sense that our goal is to exceed the conservative projection, in the same way we exceeded this year,” Secretary Frasco explained.
Casting aside the shadow of a lack of China’s big contribution as it was to every country’s tourism revenue, Frasco still hopes the Chinese, who hold 20% of the world’s tourists, will return to travel by next year.
“China is still very much in the horizon in the sense that we anticipate that they will be lifting their outbound travel restrictions in the months to come or at least we’re praying very hard for that,” she said.
Presently, Frasco pins her hopes in the European market that has shown promise time and again with positive interest the Philippines gained from DOT and Tourism Promotions Board joining the first face-to-face in ITB Berlin and World Travel Mart in London travel fairs this year.
“We are also in continued talks with airlines including Emirates and Turkish Airlines for purposes of exploring how they can expand their operations to connect the Philippines to various countries in Europe,” she revealed.
On the other hand, Western hemisphere populations who will be experiencing snow and bitter winter cold are in for the Philippine Experience Overwintering program which are, understandably, exposure to the tropical feel of sun, surf, and sand. These projects will help achieve the increase making use of the various travel and tourism awards reaped by the country over the years, and recently as best diving destination, best beach, best island, and destination of the year.
A review of the top arrivals for 2022 to date shows that not a single European country is in the top 10 with the United States showing the way with 461,717 followed by South Korea at 387,780, Australia (122.971), Canada (122,015),United Kingdom (93,440), Japan (91,557), Singapore (50,964), India (49,330), Malaysia(44,357), Vietnam (37,028).