PH should tighten security measures

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REAL estate consultancy firm Colliers International urged the government to implement tighter security measures and project a business-as-usual image to cushion the tourism industry from the effects of the terror attacks in Mindanao and the Resorts World Manila incident in June.

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Foreign tourist influx in the country typically dips during the third quarter and is usually offset by the traditionally strong final quarter as overseas Filipino workers and foreigners opt to spend their holidays in the Philippines, Colliers said.

The shooting incident in Resorts World Manila in June, which claimed 35 lives and resulted in several booking cancellations in nearby casino-hotels, as well as the martial law declaration in Mindanao following alleged IS-affiliated assaults in the region could further reduce foreign arrivals in the third quarter.

“The tourism department should consider sending additional special missions to neighboring traditional markets…to quell concerns about safety and security in the country and to assure tourists that the terror attacks in Marawi City as well as the shooting incident in Resorts World Manila are isolated cases,” Colliers international said in its latest quarterly property market report.

Traditional markets such as Korea, Japan, China, and the United States currently sustain the rise in international visitors, as they accounted for about 60 percent of total arrivals during the first half of the year. Emerging tourist markets include Russia, the Netherlands, and Saudi Arabia.

The Philippines, despite being ranked 126th out of the 136 countries in terms of safety and security in the latest World Economic Forum Survey, recorded 2.88 million foreign arrivals in the first five months of 2017, a 14 percent growth from the total arrivals recorded in the same period last year.

The “better-than-expected figures” in the first half could be attributed to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit held in the country last April and the Department of Tourism’s marketing efforts, the report said.

“Colliers is optimistic that the Philippines’ growing popularity as a tourist destination among these countries should expand the country’s tourist arrival base over the near to medium term,” the company said in the report.

The consultancy firm maintains their 10 percent growth–or 6.6 million foreign arrivals–forecast for 2017, which is lower than the tourism department’s more optimistic 17 percent or 7 million.

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