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The country’s tourism sector is seen to employ over 30 million Filipinos by the end of 2028, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Friday.

Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco made the forecast during a panel discussion at the 10th edition of the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) in Macao.

“The Philippines envisions itself becoming the tourism powerhouse in Asia. A few years down the road, by 2028, we foresee that tourism would have been able to employ a total of over 34 million Filipinos in the country,” she said.

“After all, the end all and be all of the development of our tourism industry must be for the benefit of our countrymen,” she added.

Based on the latest DOT data, the tourism sector currently employs 5.35 million Filipinos or about 11.4 percent of the total employment in the country.

Frasco said she expects that the Marcos administration’s “whole-of-nation approach towards tourism development” will allow the Philippines to occupy a primary position in Asia, especially with its diverse offerings on sun and beach, and dive tourism.

She also assured the public that the Philippines will continue to promote travel and develop tourism infrastructure from a “sustainability standpoint.”

Joining Frasco in Macao are her counterparts from tourism powerhouses such as Spain, Italy, China and Brazil.

The GTEF is a leading international exchange platform designed to promote the sustainable development of the global tourism sector.

The GTEF is co-organized by the Macao Government Tourism Office and China Chamber of Tourism, and coordinated by the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre.

Also present were United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, World Travel & Tourism Council president and chief executive officer Julia Simpson and GTEF secretary Pansy Ho. (PNA)