Gov't crafts tourism stimulus package
By Renee F. De Guzman
San Fernando City, La Union (5 February) -- Tourism industry is a large foreign earner and source of employment for the Philippines. It is one of the bright lights for the country amid the doom and gloom of the current worldwide economic crunch.
To spur tourist arrivals despite the global economic crisis the government has crafted a stimulus package for the industry.
The stimulus plan which is intended to insulate the tourism industry from the impact of the global meltdown includes, an aggressive marketing strategy that makes the Philippines as the best and cheapest tourist destination at this time, especially for the "depressed markets" like the United States and Japan.
Based on the plan the Tourism Department in tandem with airlines and hotels has cut by half the cost of tour packages for US and Japan, the target markets.
Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said the new tour packages focused on the two target markets, hotels and airlines will offer discounts starting February to April this year.
Durano said the reduction of airfare and hotel rates aimed to attract American and Japanese tourists to visit the Philippines this year, in the wake of the global financial crisis affecting the world's largest economies.
Together with Japan, Korea and US account for more than half of visitor arrivals in the Philippines.
International visitor arrivals from US and Japan both fell in 2008, as the world's two target economies entered recession last year.
Arrivals from Japan went down 9 percent last year while those from US dropped 1 percent. Tourists from Korea also declined 9 percent.
Despite the global economic crunch the DOT expects to attain its target within range of 3-4 million tourist arrivals this year owing to the stimulus package and the momentum generated by the agency's aggressive sales blitz in its major and emerging tourism markets including China, Russia and other European countries.
The agency is also confident to create 3,000 new jobs this year in support to President Arroyo's program to provide one million jobs in the next first six months of 2009. (PIA La Union) [top]