At the opening media briefing of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart 2012 yesterday at the SMX Convention Center, Secretary of Tourism Ramon Jimenez Jr. presented the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), the country’s roadmap for tourism development, which aims to position the Philippines as a must-experience destination in Asia. The NTDP seeks to achieve ten million international visitor arrivals, employ 6.8 million workers in the tourism sector, and generate P1.9 trillion in tourism receipts by 2016. Tourism development will be propelled through the convergence among government agencies, local government units, legislators, private companies, and nonprofit organizations.
Joined by Tourism Assistant Secretary Benito Bengzon Jr., who talked about the potential of cruise tourism, said “The good news is that the number of cruise passengers to the Philippines has been growing over the last several years as a result of the overall interest in Southeast Asia as the newest and most exciting cruise playground. Ten to fifteen years back, it was almost unthinkable for big vessels with the capacities of 3,000-3,500 people to be homeported in any of the ports here. Singapore is now a default homeport, and the Philippines has been able to get a fair share of the cruise passenger traffic. In fact by October this year, Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas will be calling on the port of Boracay.”
PATA Vice Chairperson Paul Antonson said, “Tourism should be given focus as it is the most inclusive sector.” Antonson also congratulated Secretary Jimenez for the completion of the NTDP and phenomenal worldwide success of the It’s More Fun in the Philippines campaign. On the other hand, PATA CEO Martin J. Craigs underscored the role of technology—the need to be electronic and mobile—in the development of tourism.