The tourism sector is the second highest driver for economic growth during the first half of the year, a result of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s focus on the industry.
Department of Tourism Secretary Cristina Frasco said on Saturday that tourism has so far contributed PHP404 billion to the economy and has reached 99 percent of its goal of 4.8 million international arrivals for 2023.
The improving employment rate is the top contributor to the economy while the increase in investment registration activities and students coming back to school follow tourism.
“I am also here to deliver the good news under the President’s focus of prioritizing tourism. Tourism has emerged as one of the strongest pillars of our economy. According to our national economic managers, tourism is the second top highest driver for economic growth in the first six months of this year,” Frasco said during the opening of the 2nd North Luzon Tourism Expo at Camp John Hay in Baguio City.
She said for Marcos, tourism is a priority “and for that very reason, we have seen the strides we have accomplished in a year.”
Among the government support for the tourism industry are at least 158 kilometers of roads rehabilitated and in 2024, there will be more improvements in airports, Frasco said.
“The flight portfolio of our major international gateways is gradually recovering and we have increased the tourism experience across the country by building tourist rest areas (TRA) across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao,” Frasco said.
She said the TRA is one of the ways the government wants to extend its welcome to tourists by giving them a special experience.
The TRA emphasizes the availability of hygienic facilities for tourists and travelers who will be visiting destinations. It features a coffee shop, souvenir shop, information desk, and charging station for mobile phones and laptops of transients.
Meanwhile, the three-day North Luzon Travel Expo will focus on the Cordillera, Ilocos, Cagayan and Central Luzon tourism destinations.
Booths will feature food and handicrafts while exhibitors will offer tour packages, discounts, travel insurance, and more at the Camp John Hay Cap Convention Center. (PNA)