House Appropriations Chairperson Rep. Karlo “Ang Probinsyano” Nograles believes the tourism industry can help put more money into the pockets of his fellow “probinsyanos,” and he is hopeful that the Department of Tourism (DOT) can maximize its P3 billion budget to make it happen.
The DOT defended its budget at the House of Representatives on Wednesday. For 2019 it received a budget of P3.044 billion, with more than half of the agency’s operations to be used for its Market and Product Development Program.
“In terms of operations by program, the DOT has been allotted P1.618 billion to improve the Philippines as a product and to sell the country as a tourist destination.”
“In terms of operations by program, the DOT has been allotted P1.618 billion to improve the Philippines as a product and to sell the country as a tourist destination. If the DOT uses its funds wisely and judiciously, then it should be able to improve our tourist arrival numbers,” explained Nograles.
“And since the great majority of our top tourism destinations in the country are in the provinces, more tourism revenues means more jobs and more financial opportunities for our countrymen in the provinces.”
Data from the DOT said 6.6 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines in 2017. A report prepared by the World Travel and Tourism Council Report revealed that the tourism sector also contributed P3.35 trillion to the country’s economy, or just over a fifth of the Philippines’ gross domestic product. The industry also supported 2.3 million jobs, said the report.
These figures, said the legislator from Davao, are impressive, “but can still be improved.”
“The great potential of the tourism industry is the rationale behind the DOT’s substantial budgets for line items.”
“If this is the revenue we can generate with 6.6 million tourists, imagine the potential earnings of probinsyanos if we can bring in even half of the tourists Thailand attracts,” added Nograles.
Thailand is one of the top tourist destinations in Asia, with 35.3 million foreign visitors in 2017.
“The great potential of the tourism industry is the rationale behind the DOT’s substantial budgets for line items that should help the country’s tourism development and promotion efforts––if utilized in a meaningful way.”
The solon was referring to the DOT’s budget for advertising (P1.1 billion), travel (P200 million), professional fees (P330 million), and representation (P211 million).
“This, of course, will be complemented by the funds the government is investing in infrastructure, to improve our airports and roads. Tourism should be one of the industries that will benefit from Build, Build, Build, and we hope the DOT can take full advantage of that.”