Philippines to Roll out PHP29 billion (US$710 million) Tourism Infrastructure Plan

| Source: The Nation
The Philippine government is spending 29 billion pesos (Bt20.7 billion) – 12 billion pesos this year and 17 billion pesos in 2014 – on a tourism infrastructure programme that will connect tourist spots to major roads.

“DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] will be building roads in areas identified in the national tourism plan in order to improve the travel experience for tourists. This is the first time that the government has set a dedicated budget for tourism infrastructure,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr said. “We want to connect tourism areas as much as we can so tourists can have a fun experience.”

Jimenez said the Philippines was on track for hitting its foreign tourist arrivals’ target of 5.5 million for 2013. Domestic tourism, however, is seen to exceed the target 47 million for 2013. “It’s about the halfway mark for international arrivals. For the domestic market, I think it just keeps growing,” he said.

During the Easter period alone, the agency recorded about 3 million domestic tourists.

Aside from improving road conditions in tourism areas, the Department of Tourism is also monitoring the development of hotels and other establishments catering to tourists.

“So far we seem to have enough hotel developments to keep pace with tourism growth,” Jimenez said.

The opening of new flights in remote areas helped boost tourism and lessen the difference between high and low seasons in domestic travel, Jimenez added.

“Boracay, for instance, no longer has an off-season or low season. What happens is that domestic tourism tends to grow just as foreign tourism tapers during the rainy season,” Jimenez said.

It is not only tourism areas that are enjoying more popularity but also travel activities such as diving. Jimenez said these days, tourists might come to the Philippines not just to go to one area but to go on a tour for a particular activity such as diving, for which we have many suitable areas all over the country.