Aquino downplays impact of China travel boycott on tourism
MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino is not at all worried about the pullout of Chinese tourists from the Philippines.
He cited two reasons: China is just a small tourist market for the Philippines and any decline in the number of Chinese visitors can be offset by tapping other markets.
"Sabi nila kawawa ang tourism sector natin, 5% ng turista natin mawawala. Sabi ko okay 'yon a, 5% ang iniintindi niyo, iyong 95% kinalimutan niyo. Meron tayong ibang sektor, talaga ho bang guguho na ang mundo natin dahil nawala iyong 5%?" he said in his speech at the National Career Advocacy Congress in Manila on Thursday, May 24.
(They say it's our loss, 5% of our tourists will be gone. That's just 5%, don't forget the other 95%. We have other markets. Our world will not end if we lose the 5%.)
He said it pays to look at the brighter side. "Iyong 5% pwedeng palitan (We can offset the 5% with other markets)."
Aquino did not mention China in his speech, but was apparently referring to it as he said the Philippines is embroiled in a conflict with "a neighboring country."
However, according to the data released by Tourism Department, tourists from China account for over 8%, not 5%.
The Philippines and China are locked in a standoff over Scarborough Shoal, a chain of reefs and rocks in the oil-rich South China Sea.
The row began when a Philippine naval ship found 8 Chinese fishing vessels at the shoal and tried to arrest the fishermen but was prevented by Chinese surveillance ships.
On May 9, China issued a travel advisory asking its citizens to refrain from traveling to the Philippines ahead of the protests held by Filipinos that week against the Scarborough dispute.
4th largest market
China is the Philippines' 4th largest tourist market and the fastest growing one.
The following countries are the top tourist markets of the Philippines in the 1st quarter of 2012:
Banking on its new campaign strategy, the mostly crowdsourced "It's more fun in the Philippines," the Department of Tourism has set a target of 4.2 million tourist arrivals this 2012 and 10 million by 2016.. - Rappler.com