January 25, 2017
In light of the kidnap-slay of a korean national right inside Crame
"The Philippine government should go out of its way in assuring the safety of Korean nationals in the country as they make up the most numerous and the most generous group of tourists who pour billions of pesos into the economy annually," Senator Sonny Angara said on Wednesday.
The senator, a former vice chair of the Senate committee on tourism, has urged the tourism and foreign affairs departments to do an aggressive charm offensive, in light of the unfortunate kidnap-slaying of a korean national right inside the national police office.
"But more than a charm offensive, the perpetrators must be punished swiftly. We expect the Philippine National Police to come up with its investigation result at the soonest possible time," Angara said.
He lauded Malacanang for apologizing yesterday to the South Korean government for the death of the korean executive.
"But more than apologies, there should be concrete moves that will assuage whatever trepidations they have caused. There should be grand gestures of assurance to millions of Koreans who treat the Philippines as their favorite vacation place," the former Aurora congressman said.
Some 1,331,701 Koreans had arrived from January to November of 2016, the most among nationalities. Using the November 2016 per visitor expenditure, Angara estimates that "the Koreans spent almost P60 billion here in those 11 months."
"If you include projected December arrivals, which is the time of the year that they fly in droves to tropical places like ours, the 2016 arrivals could easily hit 1.5 million," he said, while adding: "On a daily basis, that's about 4,000 Koreans. Every 60 minutes, a planeload of Koreans land here. Overall, one in four tourists is from Korea."
Angara cited a Department of Tourism statistics which showed that a Korean tourist who went here last November spent an average of P44,300.
"Kaya naman, close to 30 cents for every tourism dollar we earn, are courtesy of Koreans," he said. "This underscores the need to nurture that market. We must avoid frightening that market. Maraming trabaho ang nakasalalay."
Due to the steady rise in Korean arrivals, "then all the more that such assurance be made," the lawmaker explained, mentioning the 127,547 arrivals in November 2016, a 21 percent jump year-on-year.
To retain and expand that market, Angara proposed, among others, the crafting of a Korean-specific tourism programs such as the holding of more roadshows; increase in advertising efforts; close coordination between local police and the Korean embassy officials; designation of korean-speaking tourism officers in mall kiosks; and having a dedicated emergency hotline for Korean visitors.
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