Philippines looks to develop all tourism destinations: Tourism chief

Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Nov 22 2022 10:16 AM

 Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco attends the World Travel Market in London. Courtesy: DOT London via Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN News Europe
Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco attends the World Travel Market in London. Courtesy: DOT London via Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN News Europe

LONDON — The Philippines will be prioritizing promotion and development of tourist destinations all over the country, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said during a global tourism event here. 

During the World Travel Market (WTM), Frasco said this was the mandate of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the country's tourism sector slowly bounces back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The chief mandate given by the President is that tourism is a priority as far as his administration is concerned, and having identified this priority has given a lot of hope to a much-battered sector. We have now begun to see the results of this hope that has reverberated across all sectors, in that, we have already surpassed our international arrivals target as of this year. The President has also very clearly indicated the necessity of equalizing tourism product, promotion and development across all of our regions, in that, no tourist destination gets left behind, as far as development is concerned," she told ABS-CBN News.

The 3-day event, attended by about 35,000 travel professionals around the world, was held in ExCeL London. 

In an earlier meeting with the Filipino community in the United Kingdom at the Philippine Embassy in London, Frasco announced that tourist arrivals to the country reached 1.9 million, surpassing the initial projection of 1.7 million.

In another event, she also told tourism ministers and international travel and tourism executives that the Philippines is ready to welcome more tourists. 

“Today we have prepared a presentation on how the Philippines will not only reclaim its position pre-pandemic and claim its position in the ASEAN and in the world because the beauty of our country and the warmth of our people fully justifies that primary position,” Frasco said during the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Aligned Advocacy Dinner.

She said unvaccinated foreigners or guests are only required to show a negative antigen test result should they wish to come to the Philippines. 

Frasco also told her fellow tourism ministers around the world that there is a need to promote tourist destinations in the Philippines that are yet to be known and be top-of-mind. 

“There are so many destinations that have yet to be discovered and fully developed. For example, we fully intend to reopen Mindanao tourism as directed by our President, knowing fully well that Mindanao has a wealth of resources in terms of their sun and beach destinations: their mountains as well as their local product offerings. In addition to this, we have many areas across the Visayas that have yet to be fully promoted, including of course, our many islands in the Visayas that offer wonderful diving destinations. Cebu continues to be a primary tourist destination across the Philippines,” Frasco told ABS-CBN News after engaging in the Ministers’ Summit. 

For companies from the travel and tourism sectors, the Philippines has achieved its mission of conveying to the world the country is ready to receive tourists and investments. 

“We are almost 90 percent back at 2019 level. So, it’s very good. We got more people wanting to go home (to the Philippines) but less seats available. The people pay 40 percent more but people are still buying,” said PS Khang, Managing Director of Crystal Travel. 

The WTM is an annual event that brings together the travel industry under one roof. 

During the event, Frasco was also accompanied by Philippine companies from the travel, hotel, and dive sectors in the hopes of selling the country’s tourism to the world. 

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