The Philippines have chronic problems of lacking in infrastructure, deficient access for foreign tourist, and relatively high cost of getting in the Philippines. This puts the Philippine tourism in the backseat as other neighboring Asian countries continue to develop their tourism.
“There is no doubt that the Philippines can become a tourism destination. The Philippines has unbounded potential to develop tourism as a leading contributor to the economy. This sector is recognized as a driver of sustainable and inclusive growth as it opens up unlimited opportunities for new business ventures for both domestic and foreign investors. But comparative figures showed that there is much to be done in Philippine tourism industry,” said Guenter Taus, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP).
Speaking at the European Union-Philippines Business Network forum yesterday, Taus pointed out that international tourist arrivals in Thailand reached nearly 25 million in 2014, while Singapore had some 15 million visitors. In contrast, the Philippines attracted only 5 million international tourists for the same period.
“There are concrete reasons why despite the substantial growth, the Philippines continues to lag behind regional peers in attracting (a bigger) share in the growing tourism pie. The lack of quality infrastructure, both hard and soft, is often cited as a major bottleneck to tourism development. The ease and cost of getting to the Philippines by foreign visitors, the presence of top international brands and the creation of tourism destinations that meet visitor expectations are also decisive factors in the success of Philippine tourism,” Taus explained.
“If the country (were) to become a desirable tourism destination especially for high spending visitors, it needs to facilitate international investments in infrastructure and facilities that better match visitors’ expectations,” he added.
Taus also stressed the need for the Department of Tourism to determine specific sectors in the tourism industry that shows signs for the biggest potential for future development. This could happen in sectors like ecotourism, medical, cruise or high-end tourism. Outlining a direction for the Philippine tourism strategy will create a clearer canvas for future investors as to what and in where to make best investment, he added.
photo from thephilippines.com