Arroyo pushes for tourism
By Joel Guinto
BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made a pitch for the country’s tourist spots as she visited a newly-opened upscale resort and convened her Cabinet here on Tuesday.
“Welcome to the Philippines. Biyahe na. Bakasyon na [Let’s travel. It’s vacation time],” the President said.
Arroyo said the government would continue to improve infrastructure here, including the upgrade of the Kalibo and Caticlan airports and the construction of more sewerage and garbage disposal facilities.
In a speech at the Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa, Arroyo said tourism continued to be the “flag-bearer in economic progress and development” despite the global crisis.
“We will not stop. We will not be cowered by the global crisis. The government, this administration, will continue to be a strong partner of the tourism industry as we promote our nation and its natural beauty,” she said.
The President said that over four years from 2004, tourism has grown at an average of 10.6 percent annually, the highest growth in 20 years.
She said construction has started for 7,000 new hotel and resort rooms worth P550 billion across the country, 2,000 of which, will open this year, giving jobs to 3,000 Filipinos.
In Boracay, tourist arrivals reached 51,000 in January, up five percent from 48 percent in the same period last year. A five-percent increase in tourist arrivals was also recorded in Cebu during the same period.
View article as posted on INQUIRER.net