DOT chief upbeat on growth of tourism industry
Cebu City (14 June) -- Tourism Secretary Joseph "Ace" Durano said the Philippine tourism industry faces the challenges of progress after achieving 14.4 percent annual growth rate in the past three years.
Durano spoke before more than 500 participants as the Asean Tourism Congress opened today at the Cebu International Convention Center under the theme "Inspiring Cebu, Gateway to Asia."
For the past two years, there has been tremendous expansion in the tourism sector that witness the mushrooming of world-class hotel resorts and dramatic expansion of international flights to ensure accessibility to areas of tourist destinations, according to Durano.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has made tourism a pillar of the country's economic agenda when she gained the people's mandate in the 2004 Presidential Elections, Durano said.
In her State-of-the-Nation-Address last year, Arroyo bared her Super Region Concept where Durano has been appointed as the tourism czar of Central Philippines. Under the Super Region Concept, the Arroyo Administration divides the country into four major regions aimed at focusing its resources on regional development to boost economic and market potentials. These four major regions are North Luzon, Metro Luzon, Central Philippines and Mindanao.
Durano presented to the delegates the tourism expansion in Central Philippines where one of the critical components is accommodation as the Central Philippines is literally the center of the country's tourism industry.
Among the projects Durano cited are the US $30M expansion of a topnotch resort in Palawan, the opening of 1,000 rooms in Boracay this year, the groundbreaking of a new international airport in Carabao Island in Romblon late this month that will accommodate a million passengers, the newly-opened Iloilo International Airport, the US $500M Chi Spa Village at Shangri-la Mactan in Cebu, which is the first of its kind within the Shangri-la hotel network and the Bahura Dive Resort dubbed as one of the most luxurious dive resorts in Oriental Negros.
Durano said the projects he mentioned are those that have just opened or are in the pipeline. These are also projects that have registered with the Tourism Department which excluded tourism-related projects that did not go through them.
Private investments in the tourism industry within the Central Philippine Region has totaled to P90B which is the highest ever in the history of the country's tourism sector, Durano proudly disclosed.
Last year, the DOT has surpassed its projected target of seven percent in annual foreign tourist arrivals as record showed that by yearend, the growth of tourist arrivals was at 8.4 percent.
The Asean Tourism Congress is one of the highlights of the Cebu Business Month, an annual celebration initiated by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry to spur economic growth and market the province as an investment haven. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]