Press Release
March 7, 2016


SAMBOAN, CEBU - As the campaign season enters its fifth week, top presidential contender Grace Poe is even more convinced that tourism can be a great driver of economic growth in the country.

Speaking to media in Samboan, a small town in Cebu known for its waterfalls and natural beauty, Poe said it was important for candidates to see and experience the country if the government wants to effectively promote tourism.

Travel and tourism contributed P1.44 trillion or 11.2 percent of the Philippines' Gross Domestic Product in 2014, and this is forecast to increase to P2.58 trillion in 2025, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reported.

The sector also directly created 1.26 million jobs or 3.3 percent of total employment in the Philippines in 2014, according to the WTTC. Counting the jobs indirectly supported by tourism, the industry would account for 4.3 million jobs or 11.1 percent of total employment in the country.

"Tourism is one sector we need to harness and improve so we can have more jobs for our countrymen," said Poe, who along with her running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, and local officials, went to Samboan's Aguinid Falls. "Pag tinanong ako kung ano ang pwedeng gawin sa lugar nito, I can speak with authority and convincingly about the beauty of our country," she said in a press conference.

The senator, who is pushing for infrastructure development to boost tourism and business investments in rural areas, said it would help the local government units, especially in remote islands, if candidates on the campaign trail can promote the beauty of the places they visit.

Since the official campaign period began on February 9, Poe has been to Abra, Benguet, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Zamboanga Sibugay, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Iloilo, Bukidnon and Gensan, among others.

Poe's visit to Samboan, and later to Bantayan Island, also in Cebu, is her second campaign sortie in the province. Her first visit was in Toledo and Camotes Island-another place that has been noted by international travel magazines for its authentic island vibe-for meetings with supporters.

"We want to cover as many places and meet as many people. I like visiting different sights in the provinces," Poe said.

The annual World's Best islands List by a renowned travel magazine consistently includes Palawan, Cebu and Boracay, generating buzz among international travelers.

Last year, the Department of Tourism said there were 5.36 million visitors to the country, 10 percent higher than 2014 figures.

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