Gov’t misses 2016 tourist arrivals target
Tourist arrivals in 2016 into the country reached only 5.9 million, missing the government’s 6 million target by 100,000, dampened by several typhoons that visited the country last year and causing the cancellation of 200 international and domestic flights and several tours in the month of December alone.
Cesar R. Villanueva, officerin-charge for industry relations and services division of the Tourism Promotions Board, told a press conference at the launch of the 24TH Philippine Travel Agencies Association’s (PTAA) 2017 Travel Expo that the government is more bullish this year as it eyes 6.5 million in tourist arrivals or 10 percent higher than 2016.
The PTAA was quick to put the blame on the lower tourist arrivals to the natural calamities last year. Marciano Ragaza, PTAA Vice-Chairman for the Travel Tour Expo (TTE), said that had it not for the natural calamities, tourism arrivals last year could have performed better.
“Natural calamities do not only affect agriculture but tourism as well,” Ragaza said describing 2016 as “terrible” year for travel agencies as their number of cancellation of tourist bookings ensued due to bad weather. In December alone, there were 200 flight cancellations, both international and domestic flights ensuing tour cancellations.
For this year, however, the PTAA appeared more bullish than the Department of Tourism’s target of 6.5 million.
Travel Tour Expo Chairman Mari Michelle Reyes-Victoria said they expect to generate more tourist arrivals this year than last year with two major events happening in the Philippines this year starting with the hosting of the Miss Universe beauty pageant and the ASEAN Leaders Summit.
At the 24TH TTExpo slated on February 10-12 at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, Victoria said there are 311 exhibitors participating as against 331 last year. Victoria said there are fewer exhibitors this year because most of them have occupied more boot h spaces than they did in 2016 to accommodate more visitors.
The PTAA also expects to surpass last year’s record high visitors of over 100,000 as the expo offered the best available travel tour packages.
“We have seen holiday and business travelers, incentive and convention planners go to the expo to get the best possible travel deals,” Victoria said.
Since 2011, the export, which largely caters to the domestic market, had grown by 30 percent having occupied three malls to covering all of the nine halls of the SMX Convention Center.