February 21, 2018, 11:01 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07045 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.04297 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03415 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.38059 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02443 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03415 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03837 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.59409 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0304 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00723 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 33.58872 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02533 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13159 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06235 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.2325 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.18295 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 384.03989 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03832 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02429 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.018 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 11.42605 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12152 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 54.88202 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 10.87186 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.71801 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.39493 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.3921 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11601 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.94226 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.17652 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24369 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33858 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.52177 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01557 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03825 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01371 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01377 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08533 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.89967 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 172.74122 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14073 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.9296 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15011 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.45024 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11584 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.216 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 4.85824 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 261.23153 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06714 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.24329 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.71245 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 713.12103 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 1.9248 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.40936 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01359 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.0619 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 1.9413 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.3061 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 77.09572 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 7.62709 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.26453 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 20.55496 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00575 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01573 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.12565 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 158.52676 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 28.96605 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 2.97621 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.45904 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22463 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05848 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0119 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02544 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17647 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31853 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.95396 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 25.47477 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 45.90946 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15451 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.71398 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.62536 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29868 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 13.76098 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.35911 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07494 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22327 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.88663 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59477 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15035 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 1.98703 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02611 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00738 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06229 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0629 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.11989 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06472 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 106.82716 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06982 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07256 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.0862 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.12737 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07193 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14866 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.2582 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34501 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15536 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02534 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01372 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.42597 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 146.36485 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.78074 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 381.75523 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16785 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.87876 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22325 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.60368 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04586 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0428 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07262 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12717 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.55966 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 43.06541 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.51746 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 69.67197 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.54556 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 156.62766 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 478.3426 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 435.71839 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 1.98465 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04817 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.20986 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05179 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.20986 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.85248 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.79474 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22325 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 99.5492 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.94226 Zimbabwe dollar

Tourism growth bests regional, global numbers

A GREATER support, awareness and appreciation for tourism initiatives, not only by the government but Filipinos themselves, have shaped the unprecedented growth of the industry for the last five years despite a multitude of problems.

Stronger support from both the public and private sector, backed up by both larger inputs in tourism investments and budget, have been key in advancing tourism under the Aquino administration, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

Under President Aquino’s watch, the Philippine tourism industry has bested regional and even global growth regardless of all the controversies and problems since 2010, according to Benito Bengzon, DOT undersecretary for tourism planning.

The compounded annual growth of the local tourism industry for 2010-2015 was pegged at about 8.25 percent. 

“This average is better than what most Asian countries recorded, definitely what we experienced for global. This tells us that despite all the problems that have come our way we have come up with a strategy that has insulated our industry from all the negative effects of the recent incidents,” he said.

At the forefront of these problems earlier faced by the DOT was how to handle the image building strategy of the tourism industry.

“In the early years one of the problems that we faced was creating a higher awareness for the Philippines. How to build the country’s image,” said Bengzon.

And luckily for the government tourism agency, the answer came in 2012 with the birth of the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign.

“The turnaround point was It’s More Fun in the Philippines, which was in January 2012. That was when we were taken more seriously. It is manifested in a way that the government started allocating an increasingly larger share of national budget for tourism,” he said.

The campaign merited the support of the locals and government, which made the way for the growing budget of the DOT for marketing and promotional initiatives.

For example, the budget for the Tourism and Promotions Board (TPB), the marketing arm of the DOT, has increased by six-fold in less than six years.

From P65-million in 2010, when it was still the Philippine Convention and Visitors Convention, it has grown to a current budget of P500-million.

“This administration has given tourism more support than we have ever seen. This is shown in the budget allocation,” Bengzon added.

The budget of the agencies and divisions under the DOT   Secretary more than doubled since 2009, from P1.618-billion to an estimated P3.6-billion this year.

The private sector has also increased its investments to develop tourism. Endorsed projects of the DOT to the Board and Investments (BOI) and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) reached P160-billion in 2015.

A total of 128 tourism projects were approved to be eligible to avail incentives , which include income tax holidays and employment of foreign nations, from the two investment agencies, according to official data from the DOT. 

However, more concrete issues have since been haunting the tourism industry, particularly problems on overcoming overall safety and security concerns of foreign visitors.

For example, several issues, from the 2010 Manila hostage to the still on-going territorial disputes, have dampened the country’s relationship with the Asian behemoth, China.

On and off travel advisories from Beijing since the start of the administration, have led to the gradual decline of the number of Chinese tourists visiting the country. 

This is seen as a major blow to the local tourism industry as China is among the top five source markets of the country. 

Recent controversies, like the Samal Kidnapping and the “Tanim-Bala” incidents last year, also hampered the growth of the industry.

Still, the DOT said no major negative impact on the flow of international tourists was felt despite all the security concerns.

“This tells us that despite all the problems that have come our way we have come up with a strategy that has insulated our industry from all the negative effects of the recent incidents.” Bengzon said.

This strategy has been to strengthen The DOT’s public relations offensive actions to mitigate the effects of these issues which they cannot control. 

“We have a well-crafted strategy to make sure that we don’t completely fall down when we experience challenges along the way,” Bengzon said. “(It is about) a strategy in terms of negative news counter with our own PR offensive through familiarization tours for agents and media. It is singing louder than the noise. The negative news we cannot wipe out really, but it is about generating positive news.”

EMERGING MARKETS

To ensure that the tourism industry is continually growing despite the decline in some markets, like the incident with China, the DOT said it is imperative that new source markets should offset the visitor decrease.

This was done through the setting up of a market and development group, now seen as a key support program under the Aquino administration, headed by DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez.

“This group is responsible for expanding the market base by identifying new markets, whether they are geographic markets or segments,” said Bengzon.

Currently, the group is looking at growing visitor arrivals from the Southeast Asian region and the Scandinavian block, according to Verna Covar-Buensuceso, officer in charge of the market development group.

The DOT is looking to grow visitor arrivals from Indonesia, Thailand, and Russia, as well as Norway and Denmark.

These markets are seen to have double-digit increases in around three to five years, as the DOT is currently in talks with the private sector to formulate a marketing plan and strategy to help attract tourists to the country.

“Right now these markets are not producing big numbers yet. Less than 100,000 visitors, but in terms of generation capacity, it is very good for us because they stay for long periods of time” Buensuceso said. 

Crafting tourism programs to cater to the specific needs of the visitors is key to growing these markets, especially for high-yield markets like those in South Africa, Middle East and Mediterranean Europe.

“We are looking at the potential of these growing markets. We have to look at the ‘winability’ of the market and match it with the products here in the country,” she said. 

But more than tourism strategy development, improving air connectivity to these potential markets should first be prioritized by stakeholders as ensuring seamless air connectivity is seen as one of the pillars which support the tourism industry.

One priority program that the administration took to guarantee smoother air connectivity is opening up the secondary gateways of the country to mitigate congestion in Manila.

“Strategically what is important now is to disperse the traffic to more gateways. It achieves many objectives: one in a way it helps to decongest our primary gateway, but more importantly it also now allows us to promote more aggressively the secondary destinations and bring economic activity to far more communities,” Bengzon said.

The development of more points of entry, for both commercial and charter flights, has been crucial to the growth of the industry.

Charter flights, for one, was able to grow by 20-25 percent in 2015 with a total of 230,958 available seats, mostly flights to secondary destinations like Legazpi, Bacolodo, and Kalibo, according to Erwin Balane, head of the DOT route development team.

“The development of Kalibo for example, one of the major points of entry for charter flights was realized during the term of President Aquino. We’re talking about an airport that wasn’t exactly sleepy but relatively small in terms of passengers, but is now getting more in terms of percentage,” added Bengzon. 

The Kalibo airport saw an estimated 411,000 passengers in 2014, contributing about 8.5 percent to total inbound traffic.

“We will see that the Movement is not just into manila, but it is starting to be dispersed. It is all very deliberate in our strategy to position the Philippines as a multiple destination country,” Bengzon said.

Local stakeholder empowerment

Empowering local executives and stakeholders is also part of the backbone that has supported the local tourism industry in the last five years, added Bengzon.

Equipping government and tourist officials with the necessary tools in tourism planning and development has fostered a greater awareness in the people directly involved in the industry.

Convergence programs with other government agencies, like the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, empowered the public sector to develop their own sustainable tourism plans for their communities.

“With these convergence programs, we train and empower local communities and give them livelihood opportunities which in effect they become a part of the tourism value chain,” said Bengzon.

This support for local government units (LGUs) will likely ensure a more seamless travel experience for tourists all over the country, according to Aileen Clement, president of the Asean Tourism Association.

“The support is there, it is a lot of mindset change that is most significant. It is not just the DOT that needs to understand what the tourism industry is about. And they did a very good campaign for everyone, including the private sector, LGUs and other government units, on what tourism is about. It is not just about a hotel, waterfall or road network, but a combination of these that provide a seamless travel experience that defines tourism,” she said.
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