The proposed budget of the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DoT) during the plenary deliberations on September 19 has been approved by the House of Representatives (HoR).
Tourism secretary Christina Garcia Frasco commented: “(HoR’s) resounding support reflects their recognition of tourism as an essential economic pillar for our country, which, given the fiscal tools to expand, can only increase the 1.87 trillion pesos (US$32.9 billion) in visitor receipts and 5.35 million jobs contributed by tourism to our economy thus far.”
She said the budget will be utilised with “utmost efficiency, transparency, and accountability” to bring the president’s vision of “transforming the Philippines into a tourism powerhouse in Asia” to reality.
As of September 19, the DoT has recorded 3,877,183 visitor arrivals, or 80.77 per cent of the department’s 4.8 million target for 2023.
“While the tourism industry has had robust recovery in the first year of the Marcos Administration, there is still much to be done to improve and increase competitiveness especially on the aspects of infrastructure, connectivity, digitalisation, and equalisation of tourism development across the country. We remain committed to take on the challenge of transformation inspired by our president’s prioritisation of tourism,” shared Frasco.
The tourism sector in the Philippines continues to receive one of the lowest budgets among the national agencies, which prompted lawmakers to bat for the increase in the budget by noting the significant contribution of the tourism industry to the Philippine economy.
During the HoR committee on appropriations deliberations, Frasco presented major tourism wins, including the establishment of the DoT Tourist Rest Areas across the country, improvement of gateways starting with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, the facilitation of seamless entry protocols for travellers, and the diversification of tourism products and portfolio through various initiatives such as the Philippine Experience Program, among others.
She said: “The approved budget will allow for the efficient and successful implementation of the department’s programmes, projects, and activities designed to provide long-term solutions to some of the most pressing challenges that confront our country’s tourism industry as summed up to three basic but crucial components of connectivity, convenience, and equality. The DoT is committed to utilising the allotted resources judiciously with the benefit and well-being of the country as the most important concern.”