MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Saturday played down the impact of the Scarborough Shoal dispute on Philippine tourism.
DOT Assistant Secretary Eugene Kaw told ANC that 70 to 80 travel groups, or 1,500 Chinese visitors, have withdrawn their trip to the Philippines because of the dispute.
"We know there has been a verbal advise to the travel tours in China but nothing in writing yet," he said. "In fact the DOT has not received anything official."
Kaw, however, said this is just a "temporary setback" and he is confident that the Philippines can still meet its 4.6 million tourist target for 2012.
The DOT will look at other markets, including India, to compensate for the drop in Chinese tourists.
"The Chinese market will create an immediate impact but we just have to compensate by looking at other directions," Kaw said. - ANC