Business Mirror, 12 August 2012

TOURISM Undersecretary Daniel Corpuz said infrastructure projects in the pipeline, mostly airports being pushed through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Program of the Aquino administration, are crucial to reaching 5 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2013.

He added that the government is confident that foreign tourist arrivals by end of 2012 would hit  4.5 million and the momentum can be sustained with realization of the infrastructure projects.

The proposed airports would serve Puerto Princesa City (Palawan), Tagbilaran (Bohol), Kalibo (Aklan) and Clark (Pampanga).

“Connectivity to key tourist destinations is critical as well as frequency of flights going to those routes and more tourism products and new packages,”  Corpuz said  in an interview over the weekend during the launch of the Philippine Travel Mart at SMX Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

He added that the Philippines is also being eyed by huge investment companies as entertainment city and theme-park capitals.

Corpuz said there are now gaming companies and theme-park operators negotiating with Philippine business partners under the PPP Program.

“It is important to improve our infrastructure system because business people normally patronize new destinations [for their investments],” he added.

Meanwhile,  the heavy  flooding of most of Metro Manila last week did not have severe impact on the country’s tourism, Corpuz said.

He added that many tourism facilities have not been affected by severe flooding in Manila, the nation’s capital, and most domestic destinations have remained accessible.

Corpuz, however,  said delays in and cancellations of flights from abroad have had impact on tourism in the country.

“It’s low season in the Philippines, not as crucial to the tourism sector. Whatever the losses for the tourism sector, we can still make up for it during the peak season from October-December,” he added.