Bohol 1st District Representative, Rene Relampagos expressed optimism that the tourist growth in his home province of Bohol will continue to soar given the overall tourism boom of the country and the ongoing reforms to improve infrastructure, among others.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) issued a statement that tourist arrival for this year is seen exceeding the government’s target of 6 million, especially after more than 500,000 foreign tourists arrived in the country for the month of January alone.
As of now, the country’s tourism sector is contributing an annual average growth of 8 percent to Philippine economy and has been the third largest dollar earning industry in the country for the last few years, next to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector and semiconductor.
“I am happy that the country’s tourism sector is doing great! I am sure Bohol’s tourist arrivals will continue to increase once construction of the new P7.14-billion Bohol airport on Panglao Island is completed as it is expected to draw in millions of tourists,” Relampagos, chair of the House Committee on Tourism, said.
President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino went to Bohol last month to lead in the time capsule-laying ceremony for the new Bohol airport project which is expected to start operations by December, 2017. The President, a bachelor, even joked he might yet marry and spend his honeymoon in Bohol.
Relampagos said the construction and improvement of airports and seaports and rehabilitation of railway systems are very much vital in attracting tourists, both foreign and local.
Moreover, he added, the budget allocation for additional infrastructure such as bridges and roads repair and rehabilitation aimed at making tourist destinations more accessible will further expand the tourism industry.This is the first time in the history of Philippine tourism that the 500,000 mark has been breached in the first month of the year, according to DOT. (Stephanie Salaysay)