Philippines progressing as a tourist-friendly economy

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Ranking high in tourism dimensions such as “price competitiveness,” “prioritization of travel and tourism” and “international openness,” the Philippines has improved as a tourist-friendly economy.

The country’s progress was noted in the new Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 released by the World Economic Forum. The report records that the country remains in the lower half of the ranking, but jumping from the 82nd place out of 140 economies last 2013 to the 74th spot out of 141 global economies. The country also placed 14th in the regional rankings.

Published every two years, the Travel and Tourism (T&T) report displays the competitiveness of different economies by assessing them against 90 indicators grouped under 14 dimensions that are narrowed down to four key sub-indices, namely: enabling environment; policy and enabling conditions; infrastructure; as well as natural and cultural resources which are all factors in creating sustainable development in the travel and tourism industry.

The Philippines fared best in “policy and enabling conditions” among sub-indices, placing 17th. This is due to the country’s high ranking in the tourism dimensions such as “price competitiveness” (24th), “prioritization of travel and tourism” (27th), “international openness” (29th), as well as “environmental sustainability” (122nd).

The country also ranked high in “natural and cultural resources,” taking the 56th place. This is based on the tourism dimensions, “natural resources” (49th) and “cultural resources and business travel” (62nd).

Roberto Crotti, a quantitative economist of the World Economic Forum, says that one of the country’s strengths is the effective execution of the over 6% budget investment in T&T-related projects and the marketing campaigns to attract tourists.

Crotti also added that the Philippines has significantly improved its visa policy as it now allows over 80% of the global population to visit the country without a visa.

Crotti however warns against a comparison of rankings between the 2013 and 2015 results due to changes in some measurement and methodological aspects.

In response to the progressing ranking, Philippine Travel Agencies Association President Maria Michelle R. Victoria told media that “The improvements made at our NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) terminals, no matter how slight, contributed greatly to this ranking.” She also mentioned that “Likewise, the increased promotional efforts of the Department of Tourism (DoT) and Tourism Promotions Board in multi-media as well presence in travel exhibits overseas contributed a lot to the awareness of the Philippines as a prime tourism destination.”

This year, DOT has a target of 8.6 million tourists. An official tally shows that in the first two months 935,673 foreign visitors had already arrived.

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