Driving tourism growth

The City of Davao is launching a major punch to promote tourism in the region. contributed photo

Tourist arrival figures in the Philippines are up but the country has to adapt several recommendations to curb lagging behind Asian neighbors in the tourism space, a report from real estate services provider Colliers International said.

The quarterly briefing delivered by Colliers Philippines research manager Joey Roi Bondoc stated the country’s seven to 7.2 million foreign arrivals in 2018 exceeded that of 2017’s, but is behind the government’s goal of 7.4 million.

“Manila continues to lag behind its Asian neighbors in terms of tourist arrivals and average daily rates (ADR),” the report stated.

“But the push to attract more leisure investments by improving infrastructure and implementing sustainability programs should support arrival growth and sustain healthy occupancy and ADR growth from 2019 to 2021.”

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Colliers said that leisure, or the hotel and restaurant subsector, drove consumer spending in 2018, even growing by 6.8 percent during the first three economic quarters in time where higher inflation was also recorded.
On average, it has been growing by 8 percent since 2010, faster than the country’s gross domestic product growth (GDP).

Moreover, tourism is also taking up more of the GDP, increasing by eight percent from 2010 and 12.2 percent in 2017, still according to PSA.

“Based on the data from the PSA, this indicates that Filipinos continue to allot a significant portion of their disposable incomes to restaurants, hotels and other leisure-related activities,” Colliers’ report concluded.

It added that despite sustained demand from traditional source markets in 2019, the market “could be dampened by the decrease in the number of tourists passing through Manila from 2020 to 2021.”

For the Department of Tourism’s 10-million tourist target, Colliers recommended more two-and three-star hotels in the fringes of business hubs like Makati, Ortigas and northern Quezon City.

It also encourages the development of home brands such as Seda and Aruga “to capture the thriving foreign and domestic travel markets.”

Lastly, Colliers also suggested positioning near regional airports up for modernization to make the most out of the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program.

Davao poised as premier destination

Meanwhile, in line with the city’s target of 2.8 million tourist arrivals this year, City Tourism Officer Regina Rose Tecson said the local government is positioning Davao City as a “MICE” (meetings, incentives, conference and exhibition) destination to hit the target.

“We intend to promote MICE and in fact we have a program for that with the coordination of the Department of Tourism and the private sector especially for MICE community even the Davao Tourism Association,” Tecson said.

She said in the upcoming Araw ng Dabaw alone this year, the city expects nearly 6,000 visitors to attend a fellowship event that will be held here.

In addition, Tecson said Davao forecasts an influx of foreign tourists, particularly Chinese travelers in the first half of the year due to the series of big events lined in the city that include the Ironman 70.3 triathlon, Davao Athletics Association Meet 2019 (DAVRAA), Chinese New Year, Araw ng Dabaw and Palarong Pambansa.

Tecson said the city would also help promote other provinces in the region.

“With Davao being the gateway to the region, it make sense that we should help our neighboring provinces to promote their areas since everybody will be coming into Davao they would be staying here and they go out to do other sights in the region. That way we will ensure the tourists will keep on coming back,” she said.

With Maya M. Padillo

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