Puyat says 8.2-M tourism goal achievable this year

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A man puts finishing touches on his sand castle along the white sand beach of Boracay Island. AP

MANILA – Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat is confident that the tourism goal of 8.2 million visitors this year is achievable.

“We have the national tourism development plan and the target is 8.2-million tourists. That’s a 15 percent increase,” Puyat said in an interview on “Hotcopy.”

“I am confident that we are going to reach it because every year we have increased,” she said.

Despite the rehabilitations and temporary closures of top destinations like Boracay, Puyat said the goal is reachable as tourists tend to look for other destinations in the country.

“Boracay gets about 1 million tourists a year. It was closed for six months at the height of the tourism season. And yet tourist arrivals in 2017 were 6.6 million, but still increased to 7.1 million (in 2018),” she said.

“Even with the closure of Boracay, people discovered alternative destinations. They started going to Bohol, Siargao. People are going to La Union, Bicol. It’s actually a blessing in disguise,” she added.

Newly opened airports will also help achieve the tourism goal.

Puyat noted airports are important to tourism, especially in the Philippines because the country is an archipelago that needs a more convenient mode of transportation for tourists to access destinations.

According to Puyat, most of the tourists visiting the country are Koreans, Chinese, Americans, Japanese, and Australians.

Tourisms accounts for 12.2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, Puyat said. (GMA News)

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