Ph tourism will benefit from AEC– DOT

February 4, 2013 11:40 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 4 — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is now working on measures to make the ASEAN economic community or AEC work towards its advantage.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez sees great potential for the tourism and travel industry, once the ASEAN economy integrates.

“If you are qualified as concierge in the Philippines, you are qualified as concierge anywhere in ASEAN. There will be a single standard and format for training people,” he said.

“The benefit (of the AEC) is if you are a country that is not frequently visited, you will now be visited. It’s like collecting stamps in Starbucks… you wanted to fill them all. We will be one of those countries that will benefit from it,” he said.

“Those who are flying to the Philippines will say it’s okay to go and have a multi- city visit. Instead of staying 12 days in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, they can divide their stay in one country and Philippines will be one of the countries they will visit,” he added.

Philippines is considered a laggard in terms of international tourist arrivals among ASEAN countries. More than 90 percent of foreign tourists come by air. Unlike Malaysia and Singapore, where there are a lot of cross-border tourists.

While the AEC is expected to translate to opportunities and potentials for tourism businesses, it is also feared that an integrated regional economy means business risks and threats for ASEAN member countries that are not capable of coping with increased overseas competition and liberalization.

The private sector sees that connectivity posed as a major problem, as infrastructure development such as airport and seaport are very much needed. Government pump- primes the Public -private partnership (PPP) project to address these concerns.

Meanwhile, the government continues with air talks to increase the entitlements for its target inbound markets.

Both Philippine and Korea have used up their entitlements and are looking at expanding them.

He added that there are also negotiations to increase entitlements for Japan and Australia, especially in Sydney, Darwin and Brisbane.

This year, the DOT is targeting about 5.5 million tourists. With an average of 0-800 tourist receipt per person, he said tourism revenues could reach .5 billion this year.

The country’s tourism industry has contributed about 6.2 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) and is targeting 6.4 percent this year.

Jimenez said by 2016, they expect 35.5 million domestic seats flown. There were only 8 million in 2008, which become 29.7 million domestic seats in 2011.

“We breached the 35- million domestic tourist arrivals in 2012. We're going 40-44 million by 2016,” he added.

The DOT believes that we can achieve our goal of bringing 10 million foreign tourists by2016, with the help of our neighboring countries. (PNA)

DSP /GVF/ABB

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