Tourism is on the rise. And for industry players, this can translate to tourist dollars padding their bottom line. Even if it means changing the way they’ve done business for years in order to net more tourism revenues.
For the first seven months of the year alone, foreign tourist arrivals are already at 2.5 million, matching the full-year total in 2005. And with the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) goal of bringing in 10 million tourists by 2016, it’s safe to say things will simply get better.
“The industry is very healthy,” says Oliver Sison, general manager of Far Eastern Travel Agency (FETA). “Before, we were dependent on Western tourists from countries like the United States and Europe; but since these countries have gone into recession, we’re now bringing in tourists from other countries that we haven’t really tapped before, such as those from Asia and even Russia.”
Domestic travel, meanwhile, has been growing and will continue to grow, according to Sison, “mainly because airfares have gone down. You have more Filipinos who are traveling, and those who only used to travel once a year are now traveling three or more times because they can afford to do so.”
In 2010, tourism contributed 10.2 percent out of the country’s total employment. These businesses are the hotels tourists stay in, the transportation services they take, the restaurants they dine in, the tour guides and agents they meet, and other recreation and entertainment destinations they visit. In total, the country earned $2.9 billion (P121.07 billion) from these businesses in 2011.