As rich in natural beauty as regional tourism leaders Thailand and Malaysia, the Philippines’ history of under-investment, weak promotion and security troubles has made it one of the least-visited large countries in the area. But the Philippines is pushing hard to develop the potential of its tourism sector. Visitor numbers and revenues have been climbing steadily, though less quickly than those of neighbouring countries. Under the administration of Benigno Aquino III, the sector has received greater attention and growth has accelerated. The tourism sector is likely to roughly maintain its current growth rates over the next few years, with foreign tourist receipts growing at 10-15% annually and domestic tourist receipts rising by 20%. The acceleration of overall economic growth in 2013 suggests that domestic tourism growth could also rise further.
This chapter contains interviews with Ramon R Jimenez Jr., Secretary, Department of Tourism; and a roundtable with Jorge Sarmiento, President & COO, Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR); Thomas Arasi, President & COO, Solaire Resort & Casino; and Clarence Chung, Chairman, Melcro Crown Resorts.