June 22, 2010
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan today says that the incoming administration provides the perfect opportunity to jumpstart strategic plans to increase tourism arrivals by 100 percent at the end of six years.
“This renewed optimism our nation is experiencing is the perfect opportunity to build upon concrete plans to alleviate unemployment and budget deficit woes. Data shows that each tourist arrival generates a job opportunity.”
Pangilinan, as chairman of the senate committee on tourism in the 14th congress, pushed for the proper coordination of local government tourism plans with that of the national government, instilling the culture of tourism in the service sector, and encouraging OFW’s to invest in tourism related enterprises.
“Our country only manages 3 million tourist arrivals per year as opposed to the 12-15million tourist visits our neighboring countries get. Other ASEAN countries do so much with so little, and we are doing so little with so much. At its peak, Thailand was earning some 16 billion dollars annually on tourism alone. That’s about the same amount of money our overseas Filipinos remit every year. If we are to do the same with our tourism industry, the jobs in tourism will be in the country and not elsewhere, and families will not be separated because our tourism industry workers need not leave the country to provide for their loved ones.”
“It is an inherent Filipino trait to be hospitable and for us to offer the best for our visitors. We must tap this huge human resource inherent in our culture to propel us to economic growth. The Philippines can be an Asian tourism giant in 10 years, and we must start now.”