According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization
(UNWTO), the Philippines’ tourism campaign has been rated as the
best-improved in Asia, with a 14 percent annual tourism growth
rate, the highest in Southeast Asia.
The niche marketing campaign, created by Secretary Joseph
Durano, aims to heighten foreign interest in the region, with the
goal of welcoming five million foreign tourists to the country by
In 2006 alone, the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT)
tourism campaign was able to generate $2.72 billion in
Tourism from North America in particular is on the rise with a 4
percent increase of U.S. visitors from Jan.-April of 2007, compared
to the same period in 2006. Visitor arrivals from Canada have risen
10.8 percent during those periods.
PDOT is increasing its efforts to attract not just first-time
visitors, but repeat visitors as well. Increased efforts are also
being made to promote the Philippines as a health, wellness and
beauty tourism destination, and further the country’s strong
reputation for eco-tourism offerings.
This campaign is aimed at markets in North America, Japan,
Korea, China, India, and Europe.
“Efforts are already being set in place to accommodate the
increase in arrivals,” noted Durano.
Many prominent companies have also shown increased interest in
the Philippines, including Texas Instruments, a leading technology
solutions company, which invested $1 billion in the Philippines,
expanding its operations in the country. Along with many other
large investments from various global organizations and a sustained
growth in economy since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took
office in 2001 the Philippines has seen a large influx of capital
with which it has been able to fund projects aimed at improving its
This new infrastructure plan includes the addition of 20,000
hotel rooms, including luxury resorts, and major improvements to
international and secondary airports through the country. Two new
airports will be opened in Central Philippines, which has recently
been declared the country’s “Super Tourism Region” with a
three-year plan to further develop the region, while at the same
time protecting the natural resources that make it an eco-tourism
One of the Philippines’ strengths is the diversity that exists
across the 7,107 islands that make up the region. There are over 32
eco-tourism sites, including 27 protected areas such as Tubbataha
Reef National Marine Park in Palawan, comprised of two distinct
reef systems separated by a four-mile channel. Tubbataha Reef
National Marine Park is located along the Sulu Sea and is a major
nesting spot for endangered sea turtles as well as rare species of
fish such as the unusual foxface rabbitfish.
The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in
cooperation with the Development Academy of the Philippines, has
created eco-tourism training modules for local government units,
designed to ensure proper management and protection of valuable
PDOT also recently launched a Grassroots Entrepreneurs for
Eco-Tourism initiative to help individuals and concerned groups in
their actions to protect the environment.