PRESIDENT Gloria Arroyo yesterday expressed elation over the accolade heaped on the Philippines as the most popular and well-liked travel destination in Asia in this year’s World Travel Fair held in Shanghai, China.
The citation for the Philippines was made after a public vote and an evaluation process by professional jurors from the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration and the VNU Exhibitors Europe.
“In spite of the global financial crisis, things continue going our way,” the President said as she cited some very encouraging developments that have raised the Filipinos’ optimism about the future of the country.
These recent developments, she said, include the continued decline in self-rated poverty and the downward trend in poverty incidence as attested by the latest SWS surveys; the gains in the fight against graft and corruption as shown by the results of the PERC surveys which brought the Philippines from number one to number six; the stable outlook for the Philippine economy as expressed by Moody’s; and the hopeful business community outlook as evaluated by the well-respected Grant Thornton consulting firm.
“This unprecedented accolade given by the WTF is another special feather in our cap that places us over and above other tourism sites in the region, perhaps in the rest of the world,” the President said.
President Arroyo noted that the country’s competitive tour pricing, remarkable progress in transportation and tourism facilities, and the Filipinos’ innate friendliness and hospitality are some of the major factors that make the Philippines a most desired tourist destination and a haven for tourism investment.
“It is payback time for our efforts at creating a most inviting tourism industry and a resilient economy,” she added.
The Philippines is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in China’s outbound travel industry, recording a 74-percent month-on-month growth rate in visa issuances for February this year.
Chinese travelers rank the country’s beaches and heritage sites high, as proven by the various recognitions they have awarded to the Philippines’ tourist spots.