Palace downplays ‘most dangerous’ country report


Says tourists still coming to PH

Malacañang on Thursday, June 15 downplayed a recent international report tagging the Philippines as the 11th most dangerous country for tourists.

In its 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has ranked the Philippines 126th among 136 countries across the world  when it comes to ensuring the safety of tourists.

But  despite the WEF report, Philippine Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said foreign tourists in the country “continue to increase steadily.”

“Foreign tourists continue to increase steadily. There are just hiccups every once in a while. But they (tourists) continue to increase,” Abella told reporters.

He then cited the increase of tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2017. He said about 1.78 million visitors came in the country, which is about 11 percent higher compared to the 1.6 million for the same period in 2017.

According to him, the growth can be attributed “in arrivals to the 160,000 airline seats that have been added to this year with new direct flights connecting local secondary airports to China, South Korea.”

He further noted that the Philippines also has inked tourism deals with China, Cambodia, Thailand, and Turkey.

“We don’t really focus on critics. We focus on actual work and processes. And there really is an increase, it’s quite positive,” Abella said.

WEF said in its report that the security concerns in the Philippines “remain high,” while the  “diminished protection of property rights, less effective judicial system and stricter rules on (foreign direct investments) have reduced the conduciveness of the business environment.”

In its list, the ten most dangerous countries around the world are Colombia, Yemen, El Salvador, Pakistan, Nigeria, Venezuela, Egypt, Kenya, Honduras and Ukraine.

Finland, meanwhile, remains the safest country for tourist.

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index measures “the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country.”

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