MANILA, Philippines – Domestic tourism is alive and well, and will help the industry and the whole economy survive the international financial meltdown, according to one of its business leaders.
“In fact, domestic tourism offers the biggest hope for the country to keep not just the industry but the economy alive,” said Robert Lim Joseph, chairman emeritus of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (Naitas).
Joseph, honorary consul of Latvia, cited statistics that show there are over 10 million domestic air passengers, 18-20 million RoRo passengers, and much more land transport passengers.
He said the global economic crunch has prompted transportation companies to drastically reduce fares, encouraging Filipinos to travel all throughout the country, boosting domestic tourism.
Joseph told media forum in Manila that the government is promoting domestic tourism, which is enhanced by the holiday economics of the government.
He said that the Tourism Act of 2009 that President Arroyo is expected to sign any moment now will strengthen domestic tourism because it will give local governments a more active role in the industry.
Joseph said that local governments will now be encouraged to make their localities clean, safe, orderly, friendly, and peaceful which will enhance local tourism.
“Tourism is a concern of every Filipino,” he said. “The buck in tourism stops with stakeholders.”
He said that with the tourism law, the departments of public works and of transportation will now join hands in upgrading infrastructures which will make distant tourism spots accessible not just to Filipinos, but to foreign travelers as well.