DOT expects 5.5M foreign tourists in 2013

By Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 30 2012 06:42 PM | Updated as of Aug 31 2012 04:14 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism expects to generate some P728 billion in revenues by the end of 2013. This was the projection made by Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez during the budget deliberation at the House of Representatives.

Jimenez said they expect international tourist arrivals to increase to 5.54 million in 2013, while domestic travelers are expected to hit 31.5 million.  In 2011, 3.9 million foreign tourists visited the country, and this year, DOT's target is 4.5 million.

Jimenez noted the main problem of slow tourist arrivals in the country is the lack of information about tourists spots in the Philippines.

"The greatest impediment is ignorance, the world is ignorant of the Philippines," Jimenez said.

For 2013, the proposed budget of the department is P2.6 billion, which is 91% higher than last year's budget. Based on the DOT's presentation, the increase is mainly due to intensified branding campaign and full implementation of tourism programs.

"The budget for 2013 is not only focus on bringing demand but also the capacity to absorb that demand," he said.

Jimenez also said they will be creating a national map brochure which will focus on directing tourists towards specific spots and sceneries in the country.

In Mindanao, Jimenez said they will be allocating 33% of the entire budget for this region. This is almost double the budget for this year which is about 19% of the entire 2012 budget.