THE Department of Tourism has set a 2020 target of P4.454 trillion for tourism revenue, which if realized would exceed the 2019 estimated total by about 9.8%.

According to data obtained by BusinessWorld from the DoT last week, the estimated tourism revenue target for 2020 breaks down into inbound-tourism revenue of P661 billion and domestic-tourism receipts of P3.793 trillion.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told reporters last week that in the nine months to September, tourism revenue was up 25% year-on-year.

She also said that the department is aiming to attract 9.2 million international visitors this year.

Ms. Puyat said the visitor targets are driven by more airport development projects which allow tourists to fly direct to their destinations, bypassing Manila’s congested airport.

The 2019 tourist arrivals target was 8.2 million. The DoT has said that the detailed report of visitor arrivals for 2019 will be released this month.

“The Tourism Chief has her eyes set on a record-breaking number of visitor arrivals, already besting the 7.1 million foreign visitors recorded in 2018,” the DoT said in a news release in December last year.

According to Ms. Puyat, tourists from South Korea, China, United States, and Japan are expected to remain the leading sources of visitors in 2020.

“For Japan, last August, tumaas ang tourist arrivals niya (tourism arrivals rose), so we are really courting the Japanese market and still the Korean market,” she added.

She said the DoT is allocating P480 million for the rehabilitation of Baguio City’s Burnham Park this year.

Ms. Puyat and Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade also signed a memorandum of agreement on behalf of the DoT and the Department of Transportation (DoTr) last week to “intensify infrastructure development that will support the development and promotion of tourism circuits across the country.”

Under the agreement, both departments will prioritize airport development programs in support of tourism development areas, monitor the progress of airport projects in such areas, and explore, develop and increase the value proposition of destinations “for sustainable tourism through the productive utilization of airport assets and route development.”

“We are happy that there are more airports opening: Clark, according to Secretary Tugade, will be at the latest July, Legazpi, of course that will help. And of course, when we have the approval of the consortium for the expansion of NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airports),” Ms. Puyat also told reporters.

She was referring to the new passenger terminal at Clark as well as the Bicol International airport in Daraga, Albay, in the Legazpi City area.

“We want the tourists not to go via NAIA but to go straight, so we have Mactan, Bohol and of course Clark and Bicol (airports),” she added. — Arjay L. Balinbin