PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday said foreign tourist arrivals would hit the ten million mark annually by 2016, owing largely to improved infrastructure that will help boost the industry.
“We have so many projects online for our airports primarily because we expect tourist arrivals which started at three million, when I started into office, to amount to about ten million foreign tourist arrivals every year by 2016, and we are at a halfway point,” Aquino told participants to the Winter Escapade who paid a courtesy call.
According to him, local tourism had already breached its 2016 target as early as 2011, indicating a healthier torusim industry during his watch.
“The domestic-tourism program has already breached the target for 2016 as early as 2011. So that has necessitated practically doubling the targets by 2016, and I am confident that we will reach that,” the president stressed.
He lined up a number of projects in the pipeline that would help his administration realize its vision for the industry.
“I dare say that when I step down by 2016, perhaps a lot of you will no longer recognize the skyline of the National Capital Region as well as that of Cebu and so many other areas. You will be pleasantly surprised by the infrastructure that will be wrought on the country,” he said.
Earlier this week, he led the groundbreaking of the Skyway 3 project that will connect North Luzon Expressway and the South Luzon Expressway.
“You will be able to bypass the torturous road called EDSA. Now, it is very significant, in a sense, we’re glad we’re starting it, we’re hoping it’ll be completed by 2016, and this’ll just be one of two connecting roads that will again bypass EDSA,” Aquino further said.
Likewise, he said the government will embark on a number of airport improvement projects to facilitate the expected high tourist turnout in the next few years. These projects, he explained, would ensure fast and efficient travel from one destination to another.
By interconnecting all major roads to complement airport improvements, Aquino said trips from Manila to Baguio, for instance, would only take about three and half hour to four hours of travel by land.
“We have a country that is able again to come up with the wherewithal with the challenges that beset us one after the other, and perhaps, it is the mark of the confidence of the international community that so many came to us because they knew it would not be wasted given the reforms we have tried to institute into office,” he told his audience.