New Tourism Board head urges young travelers to explore PH

Newly-appointed Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) head Arnold Gonzales has reached out to young Filipinos urging them to travel around the Philippines.  He also added that the country still has a lot of attractions for them to discover.

TPB head Arnold Gonzales

“Discovering the Philippines is a rewarding experience as it allow us to deeply understand our culture and reconnect with our heritage,” said Gonzales in a Sunstar report. 

“Through our own discoveries, we will be able to see what makes this country unique and worth visiting,” he said.

He also added that more Filipinos will appreciate the country better if travel domestically, to discover more unknown places.

Gonzales, who replaced former TPB head Cesar Montano, was at the recent 5th International Travel Fair when he challenged young Filipino travelers to explore more destinations in the Philippines. 

In 2017, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed in its data that tourism accounted for 12.2 percent of the country’s economy.  It also showed that it added to the Philippines’ GDP amounting to P1.93 trillion, up by 24.2 percent from 2016.

Tourism receipts of foreign visitors and Filipinos permanently residing abroad grew by 43.9 percent in 2017, amounting to P448.6 billion, from P311.7 billion in 2016.

Recognizing Cebu

Ranked as the eight Best Island in the World and sixth Best Island in Asia in the 2018 Travel + Leisure survey, tourism players believe that Cebu should expect more tourist arrivals this year.  Apart from its global recognition, it also recently opened its new airport terminal.

“This honor, plus our new beautiful airport terminal, coming five-star hotels and resorts, and the new eco-tourism activities developed by the municipalities will help further increase the arrivals of tourists,” said Edwin Ortiz, tourism committee chair of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ortiz, however, emphasized that in spite of  the recognition, Cebu will also face a bigger challenge to maintain — or better yet, exceed — the current ranking.

“I hope we will not rest on our laurels as the reality is other Asian countries who also have natural attractions are fast catching up when it comes to welcoming foreigners and learning the English language to make traveling in their countries easier,” Ortiz said.

For this, Ortiz hailed the joint efforts between Cebu’s local government and private sector to solve the worsening traffic, safety and security, as well as eco-tourism and initiatives to improve cleanliness and sanitation.

Gonzales on the other hand, believes that apart from foreign travelers, promoting domestic travel would identify gaps and challenges in the industry.  Traveling in the country, he said, would allow Filipinos to communicate with their kababayans, learn from their ideals and dialect, and understand their way of living.

“This will allow us to know what brings us closer rather than recognize what sets us apart,” he said. (AJPress)

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