PNoy sees rise in tourist arrivals due to investor confidence

MANILA, March 25 (PIA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday expressed optimism that tourist arrivals will increase this year due to rising investor confidence in the country under his administration.

Aquino said the increase in tourists this year would even surpass the figures posted by the Department of Tourism in 2009.

The President made the statement when he led the unveiling and launching of the formal start of construction of the Grand Hyatt Hotel at Fort Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.

“Tourists, both domestic and foreign, have increased in number in recent years. In 2010, we had more than 3.5 million of them in the country, a 16 percent increase from the three million we had in 2009. Our visitor receipts have also risen by about $250 million from 2009 to 2010,” Aquino said.

“Under this administration, it seems as if this boost in tourism is going to continue further, as the second half of 2010 yielded a 21.2 percent increase in tourist arrivals, much higher than the 12 percent increase in the first half,” he added.

To accommodate this expected increase in tourists, the President said his government is implementing several measures including liberalizing air travel in the country and addressing issues pertaining to our category 2 status in the USA, and the banning of Philippine aviation in Europe.

“We will be allowing foreign carriers to come here (as) I have already given the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines a year to resolve these issues (pertaining to our category 2 status in the USA, and the banning of Philippine aviation in Europe),” the President said.

“Once we do all of this, we will be clearing some of the serious bottlenecks that have prevented more visitors from coming into this country,” he added.

To make the Philippines more attractive to potential investors, President Aquino said, his government is offering investors certain “perks” specified in the Omnibus Investments Code as “a way of reciprocating the confidence you have in us.”

“These incentives include income tax holidays, tax-free importation of capital equipment, among other things, offered by the Omnibus Investments Code,” he said.

“We have likewise launched five Public-Private Partnerships for bidding just two weeks ago, which is further proof of the growing mutual confidence between private corporations and the Philippine government,” he added.

He stressed that, “despite these breakthroughs, we remain hard at work, thinking of even more ways to encourage investment in the Philippines.”

The Chief Executive called on all Filipinos to take an active part in “our state rebuilding project… because our success in restoring our national dignity is ultimately hinged on our shared efforts.”

“The bottom line is this: each of us has something to contribute to the rebuilding of this nation. The things we do, no matter how small or large, have a great effect on our country. The same way someone has to repaint the walls, redesign the rooms, replace the tiles, fix the plumbing, and clean the windows in the process of renovating a building—everyone has a job to do in the challenging task of nation building,” Aquino said. (PIA-NCR/jcp/rjb/PNA/DCT/LDV/PCOO/ssc)



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