There’s plenty to see and do in the Philippines but the number of tourists who visit each year is lower compared to its neighbors. To further increase the number of visitors, the government is implementing a “Bring Home a Friend” program where Filipinos who bring a foreigner home can win prizes like gift certificates worth P200,000, a Toyota Vios, and a P7 million condominium in Manila.
According to Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, the initiative aims to meet the government’s goal of bringing in 7.4 million arrivals in 2018, compared to last year’s 6.6 million. By 2022, the target is 12 million tourists. In comparison, reports by the United Nations World Tourism Organization revealed that Malaysia had 26.8 million arrivals and Thailand had 32.6 million.
The government is also aiming to raise P473 billion in revenue from foreign visitors and P2.13 trillion from local tourists this 2018.
Even if the lack of infrastructure and safety concerns have become issues, Teo revealed that this has not stopped tourists from coming into the Philippines, with China, South Korea, and the US drawing in the most visitors. Some of the most popular spots are beaches like the ones in Boracay and Palawan.
Teo added that the real challenges are poor infrastructure and weak promotion. To solve this, she’s planning to build more airports and ports.