Philippines aims to attract 8.2 million tourists in 2019

MANILA (Xinhua) – The Philippines is aiming for 8.2 million tourist arrivals this year, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat said yesterday.

Puyat said the Department of Tourism (DOT) is “very confident” that the government will meet its target.

“We’re actually confident that we’re going to reach it because every year there’s a 15-per cent increase,” Puyat said in an interview with a local television channel.

The DOT said a record high of 7,127,168 foreign tourists visited the Philippines in 2018, a 7.65 per cent growth compared to the 6,620,908 recorded in 2017.

“Even with the closure of Boracay, people discovered alternative destinations,” Puyat said, referring to the six-month closure of the world-famous Boracay Island resort in the central Philippines last year.

“It actually was a blessing in disguise because people realised that there are other places to go to in the Philippines not only in Boracay,” she added.

This year, the DOT aims to promote not just the fun part of the tourism but also put emphasis on taking care of tourism destinations by observing the carrying capacities of an area and preserving biodiversity, among others, to protect the tourism areas for future generations.

Moreover, Puyat said the opening of international airports in Bohol and Mactan, Cebu in the central Philippines, also helped bring in tourists into the country.