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PIA Press Release

PGMA sustains Super Region Tour momentum; Bicol today, Palawan tomorrow

Puerto Princesa, Palawan (23 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will fly to Puerta Princesa, Palawan today in pursuit of her vision to turn Central Philippines into a globally competitive tourism destination.

Currently accounting for 50 percent of the country's tourism industry, Central Philippines is envisioned by the national government as a tourist destination offering direct international access, seamless interconnectivity, world-class tourism facilities, and products that meet the demands of today's tourists. These will be achieved through sustainable product development, environment protection and enhancement, adequate infrastructure, capacity building, investments promotion and marketing, and improved business environment.

In the first nine months of 2009, the number of foreign tourists reached 5.2 million or 17 percent higher than the same period in 2008.

Tourism is expected to generate $17 billion this year or 13.6 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP).

The President began her week-long Central Philippines tour with a visit to the Bicol Region, specifically Donsol, Sorsogon, whose coastal waters are regularly visited by whale sharks, and Legaspi City in Albay, home of the majestic Mayon Volcano, known worldwide for its near perfect cone.

The development of the Central Philippines as a tourist destination hinges on the potentials of the fast growing global tourism market, which is said to equal or even surpass that of oil exports, food products, or automobiles.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimated that travel and tourism contributed 9.4 percent to global GDP, 7.6 percent to worldwide employment, and 10.9 percent to global exports in 2009. The United Nations also noted that tourism "produced economic and employment benefits in many related sectors from construction to agriculture and telecommunications".

While in Puerto Princesa, the President will preside at a Cabinet meeting that will be held at the St. Paul Subterranean River National Park, which is currently vying for a place in the prestigious New Seven Wonders of Nature. The Cabinet's agenda will focus on how to further strengthen the Central Philippines Tourism development strategy, one of five super regions created by Executive Order 561 in 2006. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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