International Conference on Enhancing Tourism Competitiveness in the APEC Region
through Alignment of Tourism and Taxation Policies
9:30 a.m., May 19, 2015,
Paradise Garden Resort, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan
Firstly, on behalf of the Provincial Government and the people of Aklan, my warmest felicitations to all our distinguished officials and representatives from the international organizations, associations, government, the private sectors, and the other stakeholders who will share experiences and best practices and the benefits of taxation and policies affecting tourism. Welcome Aklan! Welcome to Boracay Island!
Indeed, it is reassuring to know that even as we intensify our tourism development efforts, recognizing tourism as the springboard to the economic prosperity that we all aspire for, we have the Department of Tourism and the World Travel and Tourism Council- unified in their objective to raise awareness on the latest tourism trends and respond on issues and development relevant to the industry. Thanks to our private and public sectors in all part of the industry worldwide.
Let me stress that Boracay Island has become one of the most important tourism destinations not just in the province but in the country as a whole. Aklan, because of Boracay, is now known and recognized as a major contributor to the country’s economy.
We targeted 1.5 million tourist arrivals for 2014 and reached 1,472,353. Our take on to the statistic is not that we fell short of the target but instead, that we triumphed despite of man-made or natural adversities. Translated into tourism receipts, visitor arrivals in 2014 as per Department of Tourism Region 6 was able to the total provincial income of 1.09 billion.
For a small province with a locally-sourced income comprising up to 45% of its total earnings, clearly it can be attributed to nothing but a phenomenal concerted effort by our people and our government workers and develop and implement responsive Tourism Policies and programs. Compare this with the average local earnings of other provinces which is 10-15%.
Thanks to all tourism stakeholders, for handling this delicate industry with care, which enabled the province to be recognized due to its highest contribution to locally-sourced income among the country’s 81 provinces.
But with this shared achievement, it brings about again another shared challenge, the challenge of maintaining our lead as the county’s premiere tourism destination.
Our Boracay Island is now the country’s cruise haven as we received nine (9) cruise ship visit last year. Of the figure, four (4) are maiden visits from the world’s most luxurious cruise ship companies. For 2015, 12 cruise ships have been scheduled, mostly Royal Caribbean.
Indeed, we need a shared vision to asses impact of current taxation measures in our respective economies and provide a comparative analysis of taxation levels in the travel and tourism industry against taxes imposed on other key sectors. Again, thanks to this invitation. Let’s continue to make tourism a reliable source of livelihood for our people; and for our government, revenues, urgently needed for our development programs.