The development of the country’s gateways is seen to boost not only tourist arrivals but also business opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).
“When the new airports are fully operational, we don’t only anticipate an influx of visitors but we … foresee a boom in the local economy as more jobs become available and MSMEs find themselves facing new business opportunities,” Department of Tourism (DoT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told the Daily Tribune.
The Department of Trade and Industry’s MSME Development Council recorded 1.42 million registered businesses as of May 2019, a 2.15-percent increase from the 1.39 million recorded as of end-2018. This was seen to increase further with the infrastructure developments.
The government has embarked on its ambitious Build, Build, Build program, infrastructure projects that include airports such as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Sangley Airport in Cavite and the Bulacan Airport.
Seven of the country’s largest conglomerates have proposed to rehabilitate the long-congested NAIA for P102 billion which is servicing 40 percent more than its designed capacity while San Miguel Holdings Corporation has offered to develop the Bulacan airport for P734 billion in a bid to provide an alternative to NAIA.
Meanwhile, the Cavite government is planning to transform the Sangley airport for P500 billion while the Aboitiz Group is currently awaiting the approval of the government to transform Panglao Airport in Bohol province.
Apart from the said gateways, two other airports located in Clark, Pampanga and Mactan, Cebu, are servicing both domestic and international market.
The government, under its National Tourism Development Plan Target, is targeting to record 12 million tourist arrivals for 2022. As of the first half of the year alone, the country has already recorded some four million tourists in the country.
“We [anticipate] an uptick in visitor arrivals. With bigger airports, our capacity to absorb also expands. With more tourist arrivals, the greater the demand for hotel rooms. Hence, the tourism boom,” Puyat said.
As of last year, the tourism sector was accounted for 10 percent of the gross domestic product.
Puyat said the DoT is complementing the developments by working on aggressive marketing campaigns alongside stakeholders’ meetings with the private sector.