Philippine Tourism: monumental challenges

Quite ironic that in the scheme of challenges Filipinos face in their efforts to bolster our anemic tourism industry, an initiative to entice tourists to "linger a little longer" in Manila is is being highlighted as a key thrust of the government of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. This is quite a tough challenge, one akin to putting lipstick on a pig. The conclusion of the AFP report pretty much summarises the monumental effort required to do a makeover of Manila...
[...] visitors seeking a [Manila Bay] sunset vista are more likely to encounter half-naked street children scavenging along the litter-strewn beach with a putrid smell of pollution wafting off the sea.

But, see, this is but a small component of the bigger complex of issues that need to be addressed holistically in our efforts to put the Philippines back on the tourism map. One cannot build on top of rotting infrastructure that is essential to the industry.

I don't think tourists are likely to give a nation where busloads of tourists are either taken hostage by disgruntled cops or fall off ravines a second look. And an island nation cannot serve the right sorts of tourists if transport between its islands is hampered by labour unrest or plagued by an appalling safety record.

In short, pwede na yan and bahala na simply does not cut it in a competitive global market.


  1. The media can always serve as tourist guides since they know everything about the Philippines anyway.


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