PH targets 4.8M visitor arrivals, $5.8-B tourism revenue in 2023

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

December 19, 2022, 7:49 pm

<p>DOT Secretary Ma. Christina Frasco <em>(Photo by Joseph Razon)</em></p>

DOT Secretary Ma. Christina Frasco (Photo by Joseph Razon)

MANILA – The Philippines eyes to double its tourism revenues and reach at least 4.8 million in foreign visitor arrivals in 2023.

Department of Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco Friday revealed the projections as she presented the efforts of the agency to expedite tourism's recovery.

Frasco said DOT seeks to attract 4.8 million visitors and generate at least USD5.8 billion in revenue.

Latest data showed that the Philippines has already breached its 1.7 million arrivals target for 2022, hitting over 2.46 million tourists and PHP149 billion in receipts.

With the administration's focus on tourism and the various measures implemented to ease travel, Frasco is optimistic Manila could even surpass the pre-pandemic tourism figures before 2025.

DOT's initial forecast indicated that Manila will not reach more than 8 million tourists until after 2025, a projection Frasco described as "alarming".

"[T]o me, that was an alarming projection in a sense that 2025 is so far off for us to obtain our pre-pandemic levels until after 2025 and that really forced us to take an inward look as to how we can expedite the recovery," she told reporters.

"Having set out policies under the Marcos administration, precisely to serve the more aggressive approach towards tourism recovery, we're seeing now that we have been able to breach the previous projection as well as the high projection (for this year)," she added.

Aside from constructing rest areas and improving connectivity for inbound tourists, Frasco presented more initiatives DOT sets to undertake in the next few months.

These include showcasing the country as a top cruise destination by 2023, coordinating with the relevant office to ease visa processing, and strengthening the promotion of Mindanao -- especially for halal tourism.

Frasco also said DOT and the Department of National Defense are soon to sign a Memorandum of Agreement to obtain necessary data to determine the "most ideal areas to begin the process of reopening Mindanao."

For halal tourism, DOT eyes tourists from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East, she said. (PNA)