Department of Tourism (DOT) Expresses Gratitude for House of Representatives’ Support and Backing for Increased Budget

The Department of Tourism (DOT) extends its sincere appreciation to the House of Representatives (HoR) Appropriations Committee for their support and manifestation of backing towards the DOT’s plans, programs, and the proposed reconsideration and increase in the budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. This follows Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco’s presentation at the Budget Hearing conducted by the HoR Committee on Appropriations.

The DOT’s budget proposal for FY 2024 stands at Php 2.99 billion, representing a 20% reduction from its current budget of Php 3.7 billion. Secretary Frasco emphasized the need for adequate funding to achieve the DOT’s objectives and strategies, aligning with President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s vision of transforming the Philippines into a tourism powerhouse in Asia.

“I would like to preface my answer by stating the goal for the Department of Tourism for 2024, which is at 7.7 million international tourists at its baseline. Arming the Department of Tourism with additional budget would help us greatly in the flagship programs identified by the Marcos administration, benefiting both key and emerging destinations,” Secretary Frasco stated.

During the presentation, Secretary Frasco highlighted the promising recovery rate of the Philippine tourism industry under the Marcos administration. The country recorded 3.427 million international tourist arrivals from January to July 2023, marking a 66.33% recovery rate compared to the same period in 2019. Revenue from international visitors reached Php 368 billion in the same period.

Lawmakers, including Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Bernadette Herrera, expressed concerns over the decrease in the DOT’s budget for FY 2024. Several legislators threw their support behind the DOT’s initiatives, emphasizing the indispensable role of tourism in the national economy. Representative Rufus Rodriguez highlighted the need for a higher tourism budget to finance roads leading to tourism destinations across the country.

Secretary Frasco welcomed the lawmakers’ suggestions and concerns, assuring them that stringent measures are in place for the full utilization of the 2023 budget by the year’s end. The DOT received an Unmodified Opinion from the Commission on Audit (CoA) on the fairness of the presentation of the Financial Statements as of December 31, 2022.

“We anticipate a full recovery of the tourism industry with the continued support of the Marcos administration and our partners in the legislature. The Department of Tourism remains committed to transparency and accountability in utilizing its budget for the benefit of the Philippine tourism sector,” Secretary Frasco stated.

The DOT looks forward to further collaboration with the House of Representatives to strengthen the country’s position as a premier tourism destination.

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