or the "Bantay Turista" project in cooperation with concerned government agencies. According to Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano, the DoT has recently signed with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) a memorandum of agreement for the project which aims to project a positive image for the country that was tarnished because of the incidence of crimes committed against tourists, visitors and investors.
Durano said that under the "Bantay Turista" project, the three agencies will coordinate their efforts and resources to ensure the successful implementation of measures that will ensure the safety of foreign and local tourists, as well as returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
He expressed his appreciation to the DILG and the PNP for their continued efforts in protecting the country's tourist destinations which contributed to the successful performance of the industry.
Enhanced tourist arrivals
As this developed, the DoT disclosed tourist arrivals in the country increased by 16.8 per cent for the month of June, as last year's 186,044 visitor arrivals for the same period rose to 217,250 this year.
"The results prove the promotions the DoT has been carrying out are truly paying off and give the Department a boost to continue and enhance the existing projects," Durano said.
The DoT chief added as anticipated United States, South Korea and Japan's figures all escalated. From last year's 44,853, the US's tourist numbers improved to 49,559 or attained a 10.5 per cent growth rate.
South Korean guest arrivals got better by a remarkable 45.3 per cent, reaching 39,800 this year from 2004's 27,389 visitors. Japan's statistics also grew to 31,852 as compared to its 27,711 figure of the same period last year, garnering an increase of 14.9 per cent.
China, meanwhile, again recorded an astonishing growth of 205.8 per cent, augmenting its 3,105 travellers last year to this year's 9,496, the DoT said.
Other areas/countries that provided considerable uplift for Philippine tourism are Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Germany and Malaysia.
"The results of this year's first half have been very rousing for all of us. Our market-specific sub-campaigns that we are about to launch in the coming months are all geared towards the advancement of DoT's operations," Durano said. "Once implemented, we are assured these statistics will be maintained or even heightened," he stressed.
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