June 22, 2010
MANILA, June 22 –- Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan said on Tuesday that the renewed optimism under the upcoming administration of President-elect Noynoy Aquino would be a good start to boost the tourism industry, hoping it would reduce unemployment rate in the country.
”Data shows that each tourist arrival generates a job opportunity and this renewed optimism our nation is experiencing is the perfect opportunity to build upon concrete plans to alleviate unemployment and budget deficit woes,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan, who is eyeing the Senate presidency, believed that tourism under the administration of Aquino will grow stronger just like the country’s neighboring countries in Asia. ”I’m confident that the local tourism will grow by 100 percent after the six-year term of Aquino,” Pangilinan said.
The lawmaker proposed that the next administration should have a proper coordination with the local governments to encourage the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the provinces to investment in business related to tourism.
Pangilinan cited the success of Thailand in managing its tourism industry which brought a total of 16 billion dollar earning each year.
”That’s amount is almost equivalent to the remittances of our OFWs,” Pangilinan said.
He said that if the government would adopt what Thailand has been doing, “then there is no reason for our countrymen to work abroad.”
“Our country only manages three million tourist arrivals per year as compared 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,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan expressed optimism that the Philippines can strengthen its tourism industry due to the Filipinos’ willingness to work hard with perseverance and for being hospitable.
“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,” Pangilinan said. (PNA) LOR/jfm
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