Fast Rising Tourist Spots in the Philippines

A study by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has included the Philippines as among the 10 destinations where tourism saw big leaps in 2012.

Experts say there’s plenty to extol about the Southeast Asian island nation: “The people are friendly, the food is great — it’s one of those places that hasn’t been overrun with tourists,” the report said.

But it’s the locals who are spending the most on travel. While travel and tourism spending rose 10.4 percent in 2012, to 2 percent of the GDP, a little less than 40 percent of spending comes from foreign visitors.

The recent WTTC reports forecast the Philippines to grow 8.7 percent annually with robust foreign tourists’ arrival growth.  The same WTTC report indicates that the Philippines ranks 5th among countries where spending on business travel grew fastest in 2012, with a growth rate of 23.7 percent.

It also ranked 10th among countries where travel and tourism directly contribute to the Gross Domestic Product, a rather impressive figure considering the broad global tourism destinations.

Phl as most romantic destination

Fresh from winning the best tourist destination award from Oriental Morning Post, the Philippines was cited anew as the most romantic destination by Shanghai Morning Post. Both awards come from two of the most important news dailies in Shanghai, Mainland China.

This achievement put the country on the elite list of Shanghai Morning Post based on a unique set of categories and results polled from consumer surveys through sh.qq.com (China’s main social messaging system and local version of MSN/ Yahoo! Messenger) and cut-out reader survey forms featured on Shanghai Morning Post.

The editorial team voted to complete the select roster of country winners, which also included Australia (best tour destination for discovery), Switzerland (best shopping destination), Korea (best skiing destination), New Zealand (best destination for self-driving tour), and Germany (best destination for art appreciation).

The Philippines was previously awarded as one of the best tourist destinations for Chinese in a consumer market survey conducted by the Oriental Morning Post, together with other countries in the same category such as Korea, Singapore, Ireland, Finland, and Dubai.

Search for new tourism sites

Isla Lipana and Co., a member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, has spearheaded the search for the country’s next mainstream tourist destinations, a move seen to help the government achieve its target of having 10 million tourist arrivals per year by 2016, according to a report by Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Isla Lipana chairman Alexander B. Cabrera said their corporate social responsibility project dubbed “Philippine Gems” is aimed at recognising the so-called “second tier” or emerging destinations through online voting that opened on 26th June and will close on 9th August this year.

Emerging destinations are those areas that have the tourism potential but are yet to be recognised as a prospective vacation site by local and foreign tourists alike, due mainly to the lack of awareness of these locations.

The target, according to Cabrera, is to drum up interest for these prospective attractions not only to increase tourist arrivals, but to—more importantly—spur economic activities and development within the host communities.

“The increased awareness and appreciation of our country by our own citizens and the rest of the world will give it more prestige and attraction,” he said.

Isla Lipana started with a list of 175 destinations culled from its employees and online travel bloggers, before trimming it to 50 sites. A screening committee then agreed on a shortlist of 25 destinations, from which online voters will choose the Top 10 “Philippine Gems.”

These 25 destinations include Apo Island; Apo Reef Natural Park; Batanes; Biri Island Rock Formation; Bucas Grande Island in Surigao del Norte; Busuanga and Coron in Palawan; Cagayan de Oro; Calaguas Islands in Camarines Norte; Camiguin; Camotes Islands in Cebu; Caramoan Islands; Danjuan Island in Negros Occidental; Donsol; Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Ilocos Norte; and Lake Sebu.

Also included on the list are Mount Pulag; Mount Kanlaon; Mount Pinatubo; Pagudpud Beach in Ilocos Norte; Panglao Island in Bohol; Sagada; Siargao Island; Siquijor Island; Taytay in Palawan; and Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.

The Philippine Gems project was done in partnership with the Philippine Tourism Promotions Board of the Department of Tourism and the University of the Philippines-Asian Institute of Tourism.

New travel destinations needed

A former head of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) has cited the need to promote new travel destinations and provide needed infrastructure to boost the tourism industry, according to a report by Philippine Star.

EECP board adviser and past president Hubert D’Aboville said more jobs can be generated with the development of the tourism industry.  Mr. D’Aboville noted the government is targeting to attract 10 million foreign tourists and 50 million local travellers by 2016.

“A huge number of people are going to move in the country. These tourists need to go to places where they will be well received,” he said.  He said the government should promote new tourist havens aside from Boracay, Puerto Galera and El Nido.

Mr. D’Aboville also called on the government to fast-track the improvement of infrastructure such as roads, sea ports and airports.

He said providing training to people working in tourism accommodation facilities such as resorts, hotels, boutiques as well as ports and airports could help boost tourism industry.  “The country must be tourist-friendly and the people will have to know how to treat the tourists,” Mr. D’Aboville said.

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