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DOT welcomes visitors from Cebu

11 March 2018

Cebu: ‘Seoul of the PHL’ thrives on Korean arrivals

CEBU, Philippines –This alluring province known for the “Queen City of the South” may yet also earn the moniker, “Seoul of the Philippines,” as it welcomes more and more visitors from South Korea looking for relaxation and recreation.

Department of Tourism (DOT) officials attributed the constantly increasingly influx of Koreans to Cebu’s richly-diverse tourist attractions, including world-class beach resorts, exotic cultural festivities, well-preserved historical sites, and authentic Filipino cuisine.

DOT-Region 7 Director Shalihmar Hofer Tamano also credits the peace and order situation, improved connectivity and the renowned Filipino hospitality for the Cebu tourism's boom.

“Like what Secretary Wanda Teo says, more than anything else, it’s the unique and genuine Filipino hospitality and the Cebuano charm that attract Koreans, Japanese and Chinese visitors to the region,” said Tamano, after a get-together with officials of the Korean Consulate and members of the Korea Travel Agencies Association (KOTAA).

During the meeting with Korean Consul-General Oh Sung-Yong, Tamano assured of constant coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the military authorities to ensure the safety of the burgeoning number of Korean visitors in the area, particularly in the provincial capital Cebu City.

Tamano also acknowledged the indefatigable efforts DOT-Seoul Office in promoting Cebu and other Philippine destinations, particularly at the annual Korea Travel Fair (KOTFA).

In 2016, Tamano said over 840,000 tourists from South Korea arrived in the region, mostly staying in Cebu’s islands including Bantayan, Mactan, Camotes, Oslob and Malapascua, as well as Cebu City, the Philippines' cradle of Christianity.

The DOT director said there is a possibility that Korean arrivals in the province might have reached one million in 2017, even as data are still being carefully collated.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Cebu would soon be known as Seoul of the Philippines, Koreans' home away from home,” he said.

Tamano also noted that DOT’s “holistic approach,” combining eco-agri-faith tourism, has attracted an unbelievable number of foreign, balikbayan and local visitors.

“This year’s Sinulog festival alone drew hundreds of thousands of international and domestic tourists into Cebu City,” said Tamano.

Assistant Secretary
Public Affairs, Communications, and Special Projects
Public Affairs, Communications, and Special Projects
Philippines Department of Tourism
351 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., 1200
Makati City
Tel no.: (+632) 459 5200 local 316
Website: www.tourism.gov.ph



Credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:12 AM March 12, 2018

PHILIPPINES - Tourism is one sector that is getting much-needed attention lately from the government and the private sector. This is a good thing for what has been regarded as low-hanging fruit insofar as expanding the economy and generating jobs are concerned.

Tourists spent about $6 billion while in the Philippines in 2016. That might sound huge, but it pales in comparison with figures concerning some of our neighbors.

Tourism in Southeast Asia generated revenues of $119.7 billion in 2016, and this is expected by the World Travel and Tourism Council to rise by 7.3 percent in 2017 and by 5.7 percent a year until 2027 to $222.8 billion.
The latest World Tourism Barometer of the United Nations World Tourism Organization also noted a jump in the Philippines’ ranking to 45th from 49th in terms of tourist arrivals at 5.9 million visitors.

But despite the improvement, the Philippines still was behind its neighbors Thailand, which was ranked 9th with 32.6 million visitors; Malaysia, at 12th with 26.8 million visitors; and Singapore, at 28th with 12.9 million visitors. Indonesia was at 35th and Vietnam was at 37th.

Access to our tourist destinations has long been a problem cited by stakeholders. Many foreign tourists were exasperated by the difficulty of reaching pristine beaches and other natural wonders in the Philippines given that nearly all international flights land at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

It is thus a welcome development that the private sector is now taking the initiative to develop regional airports. Last week, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. submitted to the government an unsolicited proposal for four regional gateways: Iloilo International Airport, Bacolod-Silay Airport, Laguindingan Airport, and New Bohol International Airport in Panglao. The group offered to spend P148 billion and sought a 35-year concession to operate those airports.

Another positive development on the tourism front has been President Duterte’s drive to clean up world-renowned tourist destinations in Boracay, Mindoro, Bohol and Palawan, which have deteriorated following the unabated mushrooming of facilities and structures, as well as the congestion brought by the millions of tourists flocking to these places.

The local government of Malay, which covers Boracay, has declared a six-month moratorium on construction on the island. The unregulated construction of hotels, resorts and other establishments has caused environmental problems on Boracay, which drew two million tourists in 2017.

The President has set a six-month deadline for government agencies and the local government to solve the environmental problems of the island.

The local government units of other island destinations like El Nido in Palawan and Panglao in Bohol were also directed to start cleaning up their areas and not wait to be censured by the President. Local officials were specifically ordered to enforce the law, particularly the setback requirements for beaches, and to demolish all structures that violate these setback rules. Mr. Duterte has also warned local courts not to interfere by issuing restraining orders.

The local government of Palawan has also been ordered to immediately demolish illegal structures built along El Nido town’s foreshore in violation of zoning and easement laws.

Findings by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources show that most of the commercial establishments in the town had violated environmental and zoning laws.

The DENR has also targeted violators of environmental laws in the tourist town of Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro. It is particularly concerned about sewage problems and the poor water quality in Sabang Bay and in White Beach, where water sampling conducted over the past six years showed high levels of coliform contamination in the bay.

Prospects are indeed brightening for Philippine tourism. It is time the government and the private sector worked together to promote the country’s beautiful natural attractions. Cleaning up these destinations and developing airports for easier tourist access are the necessary steps in the right direction. These should have been done decades ago.

(Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/111679/big-boost-tourism#ixzz59b09B2CT
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook)

Emailcast to more than 11,000 online subscribers worldwide by:

Ronaldo P. Tiotuico (ret.)
Former Regional Director
Email: tourismregion3@gmail.com
Recipient (Best Ecotourism Project - Mt. Pinatubo): PATA Gold Intl Award 2001, Kalakbay Natl Award 2001, ASEANTA Intl Award 2002
Website: www.visitmyphilippines.com
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