By Azer N. Parrocha
MANILA, Sept. 3 (PNA) — The Department of Tourism (DOT) said on Thursday the Aquino administration has surpassed the previous administration in terms of cumulative international tourist arrivals.
Speaking before delegates at the 3rd Philippine Tourism Forum, DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said that the Aquino administration obtained 24.32 million cumulative international tourist arrivals from 2010 to July this year.
Such figures are significantly higher than the 22.64-million cumulative international tourist arrivals from 2001 to 2009, he added.
“In only four and a half years, our cumulative international tourist arrivals have reached 24.32-million which is greater than the 22.64-million from 2001 to 2009, which was accomplished in nine years,” Jimenez said.
Recent data from the DOT showed that in the first-half of 2015, international tourist arrivals reached 2.6 million, which is already half of the target number of tourist arrivals for this year which is pegged at 5.5 million.
Jimenez earlier said that while he is confident that the agency will reach its target for 2015, he admitted that its 10-million target in 2016 seems far-fetched.
However, he maintained that there was no need to downgrade the target.
“We probably missed some very important opportunities as they came but growth is not only commonplace now, it is accelerating at a pace that is competitive despite uninformed comparisons with other countries,” Jimenez said.
The DOT chief mentioned how the Philippines is often compared to Vietnam which is part of a continuous land mass which allows them to count land arrivals. However, he said 98.9 percent of Philippine arrivals are still by air.
Jimenez also emphasized that aside from arrivals, income and employment should also be considered as performance indicators of a successful tourism industry. (PNA)