DOT receives budget boost to attract more tourists

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THE Department of Tourism (DOT) said it received a 44 percent hike in its annual budget for 2016 under the National Budget approved by Congress to support initiatives to bring in more tourists into the country.

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The DOT said its approved budget for next year is P3.61 billion, up from this year’s appropriation of P2.5 billion.

DOT Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon, Jr. told reporters on Tuesday that this amount is only for the DOT-Office of the Secretary and two DOT attached agencies, namely the Intramuros Administration (IA) and the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC).

The IA will get P446 million and NPDC will get P213.6 million, while the bulk of P2.9 billion will go to DOT main, Bengzon said.

He noted that while the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) are also DOT attached agencies, they have a separate budget source.

Bengzon acknowledged that there are still many things to be done to boost the local tourism industry.

“On the supply side, greater connectivity both to the gateway and secondary airports, expanding capacity to absorb in terms of accommodation, upgrading of the quality of services our front liners deliver. This is just one part of our strategic direction under continuity,” he said.

“On the demand side, we have to create stronger awareness of the Philippines as a whole and as a matter of strategy we create greater demand for specific destinations,” he added.

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