News Release

PBBM eyes 10-fold increase in visitors’ arrival under PH’s intensified tourism thrust

The government is eyeing a 10-fold increase in tourist arrivals from the original Balikbayan program as the country targets to become Asia’s tourism behemoth, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Friday.

“Ang ambisyon natin doon one million tourists. That was the ambition. One million tourists can come back. And then kasama na doon ‘yung mga overseas Filipinos. Kaya nagkaroon ng balikbayan box dahil hindi binubuwisan,” President Marcos said during the launch of the Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

“Now, we are targeting 10 times that. And we have started to approach that but there are many aspects to tourism. It’s not just the beautiful beach. It’s not just the beautiful rest house or the nice hotels and the resorts that they stay in,” he pointed out.

The Philippines’ Balikbayan Program was enacted in November 1989 to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos to visit the Philippines.

But to achieve such goal, the President said the government must build infrastructures and facilities to ensure ease in traveling and tourists’ easier access to the country’s top destinations.

The present government’s focus is to improve regional gateways so that tourists visiting the country could go directly to regional destinations without transiting Manila, he noted.

“So, like in Cebu, you already have that facility. People can travel from abroad directly to Cebu,” President Marcos pointed out.

“We will make it so that people will travel from abroad directly to Laoag, directly to Bohol, directly to CDO, directly to Tacloban. All of these other places that we want to promote as tourist destinations,” he said.

Last year, Ilocos Norte accounted for more than 20 percent of tourist arrivals in Region 1.

It received more than 3.5 million same-day visitors in 2023. Around 515,000 domestic and foreign tourists stayed longer in hotels and resorts, according to DOT Regional Office 1 in Ilocos Norte.

The Philippines has a baseline target of 7.7 million arrivals this year. *|PND*