Investments in infra projects boost Central Philippines tourism

PIA Press Release 2009/03/11

Investments in infra projects boost Central Philippines tourism

Boracay, Malay, Aklan (11 March) -- Tourists have yet to savor the best of Central Philippines, the country's tourism belt.

The government is putting in place more infrastructure projects to push the tourism program and make the said super region comprising the Bicol and Visayas regions and Romblon, Palawan, Bohol, Dipolog, Camiguin and Siargao more alluring to tourists.

At least 34 infrastructure projects have been introduced by the government in Central Philippines as investments that would lure more visitors to see the country's tourist attractions. The government has earmarked P44.344 billion for these projects.

Secretary Joseph Ace Durano of the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported on the status of these projects during the joint Cabinet economic cluster-National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) meeting held March 3 in this island famed worldwide for its powdery-white sands and crystal-clear waters.

Among the completed projects are the New Iloilo Airport of international standard, Silay Airport in Negros Occidental (also of international standard), and Bohol Circumferential Road.

The ongoing projects include the Southern Luzon International Airport Development in Bicol, Kalibo and Caticlan airports in Aklan, and 3 airports in Palawan.

Malacaņang said these investments will further encourage more domestic and foreign visitors to see our best beaches and destinations. In fact, the new airports have enabled the airline companies to offer new international flight connections to the growing number of tourists.

Moreover, a total of P8.1 billion worth of projects are invested by the private sector in the super region. Tourist will now be able to enjoy new resorts such as the Imperial Palace Waterpark and Spa in Cebu, Shangri-la Boracay Resort and Spa, Amanpulo Pamalican Island in Palawan, and Misibis Resorts Estates and Spa in Albay.

Foreign visitor arrivals in this super region have an average annual growth rate of 10.6 percent. The Philippines continued to post a positive growth rate in the tourism industry when its neighboring countries posted otherwise due to the global economic crisis.

Tourist arrivals in the Philippines rose by 1.5 percent to a record 3.14 million in 2008, despite the global financial crisis, the DOT said.

It attributed the rise partly to a big increase in arrivals from European markets such as Russia, up 34 percent in 2008, and France, up 18.7 percent.

The department also cited the opening of chartered flights from Shanghai, Nanning, Guangzhou and Kunming in China, as well as Taipei and Kaohsiung, for bringing more visitors from China and Taiwan.

South Korea topped the number of arrivals with 611,629 in 2008, up 19.48 percent from the 2007 figure, while the US was second with 578,246 arrivals, up 18.4 percent, the department said in a statement.

Tourism accounts for 6.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). (PIA\PMS)

Cabatuan, Iloilo, Philippines - Timeline 2009