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December 4, 2015

Davao kidnapping won’t make a dent on PHL tourism–solon

DESPITE the kidnapping of a Filipino and three foreigners from an island resort in Davao del Norte, a lawmaker on Saturday has expressed confidence that foreign visitors to the Philippines will continue to increase in the months ahead, mainly because of the heavily discounted tours brought about by falling aviation jet fuel prices.

House Deputy Minority Leader and Party-list Rep. Arnel Ty of LPG Marketers’ Association said that amid the plunge in jet fuel prices, airlines and travel agents around the world are now selling bargain basement-priced tours.

“At $60.10 per barrel, the price of jet fuel has nose-dived 46.9 percent compared to a year ago [level], and air fares everywhere are going down,” said Ty, who speaks for the minority in the House energy committee.

“Cheaper air fares and tours are bound to bring in a greater number of foreign vacationers. This should more than offset any negative publicity from a single untoward incident,” he said.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is eyeing 5.5 million foreign visitors this year, up from 4.8 million in 2014. The department is aiming for up to 10 million foreign visitors in 2016.

Meanwhile, Ty said that under the proposed P3.002-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2016, the DOT intends to spend another P4.6 billion to sell the Philippines as a foreign tourist destination.

“The national government is also spending another P24 billion next year to build new infrastructures meant to make tourist destinations more accessible to visitors,” Ty said.

Meanwhile, the September 21 kidnapping of Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkinstad, 56; Canadian guests John Ridsdel, 68, and Robert Hall, 50; and Hall’s 40-year-old Filipina companion, Maritess Flor, has prompted the Canadian government to warn its citizens against travelling to Mindanao.

The four victims were seized by unidentified gunmen from the Holiday Ocean View Resort in Samal Island, Davao del Norte.

 

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