DOT targets 4.8 million foreign visitors in 2023
The Department of Tourism (DOT) is eyeing to surpass this year’s foreign tourist arrivals as it continues to launch various programs to strengthen the local tourism industry.
For 2023, the DOT said it is targeting 4.8 million foreign visitors, which is double than 2022 arrival which is now at 2.46 million, according to DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco.
She said the Department is eyeing 2023 projections with full optimism, as the industry is on a spiking trajectory in terms of progress.
The DOT had initially projected 1.7 million tourist arrivals this year, but the actual count recorded 2.46 million as of Tuesday, Dec. 19.
The United States emerged as the country’s top tourist market with 461,967 visitors, followed by South Korea (387,780), Australia (122,971), Canada (112,015), the United Kingdom (93,440), Japan (91,557), Singapore (50,964), India (49,330), Malaysia (44,357), and Vietnam (37,028).
The Tourism chief stressed that the Department would close the year with a promising trajectory of 2.5 million visitor arrivals accounting to close to 30 percent of the industry’s pre-pandemic arrivals data when the Philippines recorded 8.3 million arrivals in 2019.
Thus, she said, is a far cry from the 164,000 recorded in 2021.
Frasco added the new projections are made with consideration of factors that are beyond the control of the Department, such as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, rising fuel prices, inflation, and the continued lockdowns in China which, for the longest time, has been the top tourist market of the Philippines.
Frasco welcomed the PUBLiCUS Asia survey result which placed the tourism agency third in government agencies with the highest approval ratings nationwide.
The survey, conducted between Nov. 25 to 30, likewise ranked the DOT 8th in terms of trust rating from the public.
Frasco said that they are grateful for the Filipino people’s positive response and support for the work they have done in the past 6 months to usher in the recovery of the tourism industry.
They are optimistic that just as we have greatly exceeded our targets this year, 2023 will usher in more record-breaking numbers, translating to more livelihood and employment opportunities for our fellow Filipinos.
They are thankful for our continued partnership and collaboration with the hardworking men and women of the Philippine tourism industry from the public and private sectors across the country, she added.
Meanwhile, Frasco announced their priority goals for next year, which include stronger collaboration with national government agencies and local government units (LGUs) in developing the country’s tourism portfolio and exemplifying the Filipino Brand of Service Excellence (FBSE).
This will highlight the training of 100,000 tourism workers, the highest record set by far for the industry, according to the secretary.
On Wednesday, Dec. 20, Frasco signed a formal partnership with the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) to enhance the overall tourist experience at the established tourist centers around the country.
The partnership, she noted, would provide improved internet connectivity in at least 94 destinations all over the country, and more digitalized tourism services.
Frasco said the goal is to make travel seamless for all types of travelers, thus, the launching of the E-arrival pass together with the DOT, DICT, BI, BOQ, and DOH which integrates all the requirements of five government agencies into one platform.
It makes travel as convenient as possible for any Filipino or tourist coming into the country by removing any barriers that would otherwise dissuade tourists from coming into the Philippines, she said.
The DOT also launched two of its newest tourism programs which include the Philippine Travel Experience which would give tourists a window to discover the country’s tourism gems; and the “Bisita, Be My Guest Program”, wherein the DOT is giving away condominium units, cars, and other amenity packages for returning Filipinos who can bring home in acquaintances, friends and family members to the country.
PH tourism competitiveness
The DOT has also laid the groundwork for the Philippines to be more tourism-competitive in Asia and the world through the establishment of one-stop-shop tourist centers called Tourist Rest Areas (TRA) in 10 strategic locations across the country which are: Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon; Samal Island in Davao del Norte; Baguio in the Cordilleras; Dauis in Bohol; Saud in Ilocos Norte; and Carcar, Carmen, Medellin, and Moalboal in Cebu, and in January 2023, in Roxas in Palawan.
Aside from diversifying our products in arts and film tourism, we are also developing the country’s existing tourism products including dive and marine sports tourism, education, health, and cruise tourism, food and gastronomy tourism, culture and heritage tourism, MICE tourism and halal tourism, Frasco said.
The secretary said she will also ensure the continuity of her listening tours, which have proven to help gather the most important insights from industry stakeholders on the ground, with the intent of establishing an inclusive, collaborative, and consultative Tourism Department.
She said the DOT is also in close coordination with its partner government offices such as the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), as well the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Health (DOH) for the enhanced travel connectivity and ensured the safety of tourists.
In terms of increasing employability, Frasco said the DOT has collaborated with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in the launching of the Trabaho, Turismo Asenso! last September in the National Capital Region (NCR), Cebu and Davao to fill in the gaps in the tourism workforce.
The collaboration has aggregated 157 tourism-related companies and offered a total of 8,310 jobs with 9,000 cumulative registrants.
Tourism training sessions have also been conducted for 25,770 industry stakeholders from tourism-related establishments, Community Based Tourism Organizations (CBTOs), local tourism officers, and members of the academe to equip them with the needed knowledge and skills for the advocacy programs of the sector toward a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive Philippine tourism.
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DOT targets 4.8 million foreign visitors in 2023
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