The Philippines is unlikely to meet its target of five million tourists this year due to damage caused by twin disasters, said Domingo Enerio, chief of the government’s Tourism Promotion Board.
Super typhoon Haiyan hit on November 8, just weeks after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck on October 15, causing devastation in tourist areas which resulted in many cancelled reservations.
Both the 2013 target and the 6.8 million target for 2014 may have to be revised in the face of the damage, he said.
Tourist arrivals up to September had already reached about 3.6 million, up from 3.2 million in the same period last year. But the disasters will affect arrivals in the last three months, which are the peak season for tourists, he added.
The earthquake, which killed more than 220 people, shattered historic churches and tourism facilities and damaged roads in the central islands of Cebu and Bohol, both popular tourist destinations.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, as of December 7, super typhoon Haiyan killed 5,796 people, injured 27,000 others and left 1,800 missing. It also devastated many towns including popular hotels, beach resorts, surfing and dive sites.
Despite the setbacks, the government is still sticking to its target of 10 million tourist arrivals in 2016, up from about 4.3 million in 2012, Enerio added.-VNA