The Philiippine Department of Tourism (DOT) further reinforced its technical assessment of tourism traffic to the country to capture the aggregate and accurate state of tourism and its contribution to the economy.
“We have expanded our assessment to include a more systematic and in-depth analysis of top destinations to provide a clearer insight on the tourism movements throughout the country. Understanding these movements allows us to create strategies to further support the development of these destinations. This system also creates awareness for these places in the national level,” said Tourism Secretary Ace Durano.
Top destinations are referred to as those that have at least 100,000 foreign tourists annually and have received substantial tourism-related investments.
Since its adoption in 2008, the new system has propelled several previously unknown local sites to the main tourism circuit, such as Camsur, which enjoyed a 117.25% growth in foreign and domestic arrivals in 2009.
The tourism chief added that the enhanced system also aims to empower local government units (LGU) to gather information and generate ideas for tourism development in their area.
“We have actively engaged in a campaign, with the help of Japan, to train local officers in monitoring tourism traffic in their respective destinations. Empowering them builds up their capacity to create policies and strategies to stimulate tourism and boost livelihood in their areas,” explained Durano.
Since 2006, the DOT has maintained a partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for a statistical-capacity building program in the local government level. The ongoing campaign, called the DOT-JICA Technical Cooperation Program Management (TCPM), taps more than 100 LGUs to standardize their data collection methodology which is used to analyze tourism information culled from hotels, resorts and other tourism accommodations in their areas.
According to Director Alan Cañizal of the Tourism Development Planning, “The campaign capitalizes on the more attuned perception of locals for mining information about their sites. It also generates consciousness among community members, from the top to the grassroots, to manage their own destination and help promote it.”
DOT’s new documentation process has also started integrating data collected from the newly-released arrival/departure cards (A/D). Bearing more detailed information on passengers, the new A/D cards include questions on Type of Accommodation, Education/ Training, Official Mission, Religion/ Pilgrimage, Health, and Transit.
“More details on travellers will certainly help us create new and relevant products for our regular and niche markets. We are moving towards a fresh, revitalized approach,” said Undersecretary Eduardo Jarque, Jr.
“These innovations are logical and necessary if we want to keep up with the ever- changing market trends. With this detailed breakdown and analysis of data, the tourism industry is able to respond to needs, create demand and serve our foreign and local tourists.
All these lead to a more robust tourism industry which translates to more jobs for Filipinos,” Durano said.