MANILA, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Philippine tour operators are confident that the country's travel industry will continue to grow despite the negative publicity generated by the Aug. 23 hostage crisis, Tourism Congress President Alma Jimenez said in a statement Monday.
"No doubt the setbacks are serious and costly for the country and the industry but we remain undaunted that the overall goals that both government and the private sector have set are still achievable," said Alma Jimenez.
On Aug. 23, a disgruntled former Police Senior Inspector hijacked a tour bus carrying 21 Hong Kong tourists, which led to the death of eight tourists in shooting.
The tourism department is planning to bring in 3.3 million foreign tourists this year. There are concerns that the number of tourists may decline following the bungled hostage rescue attempt.
But the private sector-led Tourism Congress said it will help the government to achieve this goal.
Jimenez said member-organizations of the Tourism Congress are launching marketing campaigns to counter the negative publicity. Aside from spearheading the Philippine Travel Exchange and the Philippine Travel Mart (PTM), private tour operators also held one- on-one business meetings with other travel wholesalers from Europe, North America, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries.
The Philippine Association of Health Organizations in Medical Tourism will also promote the Philippines as medical travel destination in the Employer Health Care Congress and World Medical Tourism Congress in Los Angeles this September.