For the past 5 years of this presidential administration, the Department of Tourism has been busy spending money on all kinds of advertising. Advertising on CNN. Advertising on London buses. PR companies to defend its hotel rating program.
Almost every month, some new statistic is released, supposedly proving how well our Tourism boys are performing, especially Secretary of Tourism Ramon Jimenez, Jr.
So, is it true?
Here are the numbers (World Bank compilation, 2013). The numbers speak for themselves. These numbers, from the World Bank, don’t lie (unlike the DOT numbers, which only an imbecile would believe). And the numbers are ugly. Very ugly.
Our country had 4.8 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2013. Guess how many Vietnam had? 7.6 million. Ever heard of Kazakhstan? 4.9 Million. Bulgaria? 6.9 Million. Romania – 8 Million. Indonesia – 8.8 Million, almost all of it from one tiny island. Singapore – 11.9 Million. Malaysia – 25.7 Million. Thailand – 26 Million. Spain – 61 Million. France – 85 Million.
True, we beat Latvia (1.9 Million), Uruguay (2.7 Million), and war-torn Lebanon (1.3 Million). Yay.
|Country||Number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals|
Vietnam, a country that was in almost total ruin in 1970, had 3 Million more visitors than us.
Whoever is in charge of tourism in Lebanon, he (or she) is a genius. With a war going on, and daily bombings and shootings, the country was still able to attract 1.3 Million tourists. We should hire this guy as a gun-for-hire Cabinet Member at US$10 Million a year salary to run our tourism sector. It will be less expensive than Jimenez with his bloated budgets, and almost certainly more productive.
Latvia, a country of 2 million inhabitants (1/50th the Philippines) which most people couldn’t find on a map if their lives depended on it, drew 1.9 Million visitors. Latvia had 1 tourist per inhabitant – 1:1. In the Philippines, there was 1 tourist per 21 inhabitants – about 5%, 1/20th, of Latvia’s tourist-drawing efficiency .
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