• PCCI calls for upgrade of tourism infrastructure

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    To accommodate 20M visitors next decade
    THE Philippines needs to upgrade tourism infrastructure facilities to accommodate more than 20 million tourists in the next decade, an official of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said over the weekend.

    Samie Lim, vice president for tourism and retailing of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), said the country currently ranks sixth out of the 10 Asean countries in terms of international tourist arrivals, overtaken by Indonesia and Vietnam.

    “If we do not build our capacity for at least 20 million tourists by 2026, we will probably be overtaken by Cambodia and Myanmar and slide down to number eight position. Even at 20 million for international tourists, we will have only a 3.7-percent market share of the Asia market of 530 million by 2030,” he said.

    The Philippines had 5.36 million foreign tourists in 2015 staying an average of 10.5 days. It earned some P227.62 billion in revenues, representing close to a 16-percent increase in arrivals and close to 6 percent increase in revenues against 2014.

    Lim said that currently, most of the tourists who come to the Philippines spend less than $1,000 for their stay here despite the country boasting some of the best resorts in the world.

    “We need to upgrade our facilities to attract the mid and high-end market which spends $2,000 to $4,000 per visit for truly exciting world-class destinations,” he noted.

    Lim has proposed “8As” to drastically improve tourism in the Philippines: Arrival, Access, Accommodations, Attractions, Activities, Advertising, Academic linkage and Assurance of safety.

    He has been pushing to make Clark a key international airport to boost passenger capacity.

    “The NAIA [Ninoy Aquino International Airport] congestion is an air disaster waiting to happen. We must develop a second airport; it can be in Clark, Sangley, Bulacan or any strategic location in Luzon to decongest Manila,” Lim further said.

    He also underscored the need to upgrade the Cebu airport to become the hub for Visayas and a new international gateway in Davao for the Mindanao cluster.

    Lim said three major and distinct tourist districts in Manila should also be promoted, including the Bay Area Tourism District, the Makati/Bonifacio Global City District and the Ortigas/Araneta Tourism District.

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