In 2013, the Philippines received around 4 million visitors (including tourists and businessmen). It has been a great achievement and increase but if we compare this number with some of its neighbors such as Indonesia, Thailand and the industry giant Malaysia, those countries respectively received 8 million (Indonesia), 21 million (Thailand) and 30 million (Malaysia). How can we explain such a difference, knowing the potential of this archipelago in this industry?
Experts agree to say that the Philippines can become a world power in this industry, however the prices are much higher in the Philippines when we compare it to Thailand or Indonesia for example. We can easily notice that Philippines is not yet ready to accommodate more visitors as there is not enough offer compare to the actual demand. Supply is not enough, therefore the higher prices.
Businessmen visit the Philippines all year long, however, like everywhere in the world, the tourism industry is subject to cycles. From September to May, the good weather attracts domestic and worldwide travelers. From June to September it is the rainy season and the industry struggles.
Recent date shows that the most foreign tourist are from South Korea (24%), United States (16%) followed by Japan and China.
The main reasons for the underachievement of this archipelago in this industry is :
• Philippines has one of the most expensive electricity rates in the world, a monopolized sector.
• In term of real estate, pricing keep on increasing which directly increase the cost of investment
• The Philippines imposes restrictions for foreign investors on particular industries.
• The Philippines is still seen as an undeveloped country when compared to its neighbors. It is important to rebrand it self and provide a good first impression of the country to its foreign visitors, clearly not possible with the current airports and transportation systems.
• Aside from some specific areas such as Boracay Island, Cebu or Palawan, most of the country is not yet fully covered in term of infrastructure (roads, airports, ports, etc.). Hundred of Islands remain unknown to its difficult access.
The Philippines has lots of potential in the tourism industry and the opportunities are here. With all its beautiful sand beaches, waterfalls, mountains, volcanoes and its warming people, this country has can observe a similar growth as Thailand. Real efforts must be conducted by the government and private companies to increase the safety, quality and the general infrastructure system.