THE Department of Tourism (DOT) is now looking into faith tourism as a developed aspect of tourism in the country, said DOT official.
During the weekly press conference at Habi at Kape, Abreeza Ayala Malls, DOT assistant secretary Eden David said they are currently looking into developing farm tourism, faith tourism, and convergence program in helping increase the tourism arrivals of the Philippines for the year.
According to David, in 2017, they have reached their tourism arrivals target of 6.7 million. This year, however they have a target of about 7 million, which Teo herself increased by about 8 million to make sure that the target is reached.
David pointed out that in other countries, travel and tours include going on to pilgrimages and temple visits. She said this can also be possible in the Philippines as well through a well-developed faith tourism program.
“This is hinging on pilgrimage, of course activities that are faith-based even festivals such as Sinulog, actually originates from faith and religion and beliefs. All of these aspects are being looked into by our secretary primarily to increase [international] tourism arrivals as our goal for this year is P8 million nationwide,” she said.
“There are parts of our culture that is not appreciated. If we go to other countries, we go to temples, but in the Philippines, it’s not included in the itineraries. So those are the things that we want to highlight for our tour packages,” David added.
She also said that they see high demand for faith-tourism related activities especially so if they are given much attention. Normally, these pilgrimages are organized by religious groups and are not anymore coordinated with the government.
“So they have activities that we haven’t given proper handling relative to accommodation, to transportation, and connectivity concerns,” said David adding that since these activities are still event-based, basic tourism standards should still be managed such as the safety and security of the tourists.