The tourism industry landed third as far as dollar earnings in the country is concerned.
The industry came next to the business process outsourcing (BPO) and semi-conductors services, according to DOT Sec. Ramon Jimenez, Jr., who attributed the boom in dollar earnings to the “Visit Philippines” program of which Bohol made an unprecedented support particularly in the recentÂ “Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibuok Kalibutan”Â (TBTK).
Commenting on the tourism generated revenue, Rep. Rene Relampagos, chair of the House committee on tourism said the department deserves sufficient budget so it can further generate dollar earnings in terms of tourism arrivals. He supports the proposed budget of P3.6 billion for next year for the tourism programs in the country,Â which is 44% higher than its current budget of P 2.5 billion.
Sec. Jimenez cited aÂ consistent growth in arrivals for the first half of 2015 with a total of 2,619,625 visitors, posting a 7.65% increase over the same months of 2014 at 2,433,428 arrivals.
Visitor arrivals in June 2015 yielded 390,486 which is 4.89% higher than the June 2014 arrivals of 372,293.
The highest measure of tourism performance, according to DOT, is the amount of revenues it generates. In 2014, inbound tourism generated a revenue of P 275 billion while domestic tourism revenue reached P 1.469 billion.
The tourism sector is the fifth largest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).Â In terms of generating jobs, the booming industry has created a total of 4.76 million jobs in 2014, which represents 12.5% of the countryâ€™s total number of employment. Other indicators of growth in the tourism sector include the 3.2% increase in international visitor arrivals â€“ from 4.7 million in 2013 to 4.8 million in 2014, and the 25% jump in the number of domestic travelers â€“ from 437 million in 2013 to 54.6 million in 2014.
International recognition gained by some of the countryâ€™s tourism destinations inlcuÂ Â de the White Beach Resort and Yapak Beach Resort in Boracay and the Secret Lagoon Beach in Palawan, which were picked as among the top 25 Beach in Asia in the Trip Advisorâ€™s 2015 Travelerâ€™s Choice Awards, with the White Beach Resort ranking first. The CNN also ranked the Philippines as the second best destination in the world with the best food.
Rep. Relampagos cited that with the countryâ€™s rich natural and cultural heritage, government fund must be ensured not only to promote tourism but more importantly to ensure that tourism in the country remains sustainable, responsible and mindful to the environment and the challenges of climate change.â€
DOT Undersecretary Ma. Victoria Jasmin said that under the 2016 National Expenditure program, the DOT and its attached agencies are set to receive P 3.61 billion for 2016
Of this amount, P2.95 billion goes to the Office of the Secretary; P 213.59 million to the National Parks and Development Committee; and P 446.07 million to the Intramuros Authority.
Rep. Relampagos further said that â€œthe future of tourism in the country must look seriously in community-based tourism. Local government units and the community are indispensable partners in the development, promotion and protection of tourism destinations. Only when they are actively engaged and involved can we be sure that tourism will be sustainable and responsible.â€
The pre-session budget is the venue to initially discuss the 2016 proposed budget, programs, plans and major accomplishment of each agency of government prior to the presentation at the plenary for debate and deliberation. The plenary discussion on the proposed 2016 budget will start in the latter part of September this year.