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Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat

Rates cut to spark domestic tourism

Local hotels have started offering discounted rates to support the tourism sector’s campaign to envigorate the domestic market, the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) said. 

The Department of Tourism (DOT) and other stakeholders announced they will roll out more value-added packages, discounted accommodation and marked down prices on domestic flights as part of efforts to boost the domestic tourism sector as foreign arrivals are expected to be affected by the temporary travel ban from China and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

In line with this, the DOT recently announced that it will hold the first Philippine Shopping Festival in March, a month-long sale aimed at generating more spending from tourists. 

“This ambitious project, designed to increase tourism expenditure in the country, would not have been possible without the full support and cooperation of the nation’s mall operators, retailers, franchise holders, hotel and tour operators and travel agencies,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said earlier. 

Puyat earlier emphasized the growth of the domestic tourism market over the years, as it already registered 111 million domestic tourists in 2018, exceeding the 86 million domestic tourist target for 2022 under the National Tourism Development Plan. 

While 2019 figures have yet to be released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in March, Puyat said this is expected to surpass the previous year’s numbers as Boracay was already opened in 2019. 

“We expect it to be higher than 111 million,” Puyat said. 

Despite the threat of COVID-19, she expressed optimism in the continued growth of the domestic tourism sector. 

“But it’s going to be the first time that the airlines will cut their rates, the hotels will even cut 50 percent off their published rates just to spur domestic tourism,” she added.

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