Philippines points travellers towards rural tourism

Village in a valley at UNESCO-listed Batad rice terraces in the Cordillera Administrative Region

The Philippine government is placing a greater emphasis on countryside tourism and aims to increase tourists’ average length of stay beyond 10.5 days and raise per capita expenditure.

Currently, the Philippine Department of Tourism (DoT) is working closely with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Interior and the local government to develop programmes, and with the travel trade on promotions.

Rural tourism to benefit industry and communities; pictured, village in the UNESCO-listed Batad Rice Terraces, Cordillera Administrative Region

Benito Bengzon Jr, undersecretary tourism development at the DoT, told TTG Asia on the sidelines of the ASEAN NTO meetings during ATF 2018: “Emerging destinations for countryside tourism include Siargao, the northern part of Palawan and the Cordillera Administrative Region, besides known destinations such as Bohol and Boracay.”

He added that countryside tourism has been well received by FITs aged between 20 and 30 from South-east Asia due to the strong presence of low-cost carriers which make travel more affordable.

It has also gained popularity with European tourists who visit the country in search of unique, authentic experiences such as replanting mangroves, creating artificial reefs and weaving lessons.

This promotion is part of the government’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda introduced in 2016, where rural tourism will help benefit the local communities.

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