MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday downplayed the report of the World Economic Forum (WEF) which named the Philippines as the 11th most dangerous country for tourists.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the government would not “focus on critics” and instead pour its energy on the “actual work and processes,” even as he downplayed the annual report which studies the travel and tourism competitiveness of 136 economies across the world.
Abella acknowledged that tourism businesses are “exposed to risks," but he said that despite the WEF report, “foreign tourists continue to increase steadily.”
“There are just hiccups every once in a while, but they [tourists] continue to increase,” he added, citing the increase of tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2017 to 1.78 million from 1.6 million in the same period last year.
Abella said the increase in tourist arrivals can be attributed to the estimated 160,000 additional seats added to the direct flights to and from the Philippines.
The WEF report, now on its 11th edition, said the Philippines ranked 126th among 136 countries when it comes to ensuring the safety of its tourists.
The 10 most dangerous countries in the world, according to the WEF report, are Colombia, Yemen, El Salvador, Pakistan, Nigeria, Venezuela, Egypt, Kenya, Honduras and Ukraine.
The Philippines ranked 79th based on all indicators, such as business environment, health and hygiene, human resources, environmental sustainability, infrastructure, and price competitiveness, among others.
The Philippines dropped five notches from the last assessment.