MANILA—To help boost tourism, a senator has filed a bill meant to grant tax incentives and other perks to foreign film makers who shoot their movies in the Philippines.
Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara filed Senate Bill 1330, or the “Philippine Film and Television Tourism Act,” which seeks to make locally-shot international movies huge “advertising billboards”.
Angara said this way, it would generate the interest of foreign tourists to include the Philippines in their list of destinations and create job opportunities for Filipinos.
“Film tourism is a growing phenomenon wherein tourists visit destinations that they saw in movies, televisions, or videos. We have to take advantage of this trend by encouraging foreign film producers to shoot here in the Philippines in exchange for certain benefits, in addition to best locations for movie making,” Angara said.
“By boosting the film tourism, the Philippines stands to increase tourist arrival and stimulate the economy. A dollar spent by a tourist for accommodation is multiplied by 2.1 times for the economy as it creates jobs and will have positive effect on other economic or industrial sectors,” he added.
Section 9 of the bill specifically grants an international or foreign film or television production tax and duty free importation of filming equipment, to be determined and endorsed by the Philippine Film and Television Tourism Authority (PFTTA), which shall be created to run the affairs related to film and television tourism.
Another incentive is the issuance to foreign nationals who are members of the international film production entities, as duly endorsed by the PFTTA, of a multiple entry special visa valid for a period of one year.
Angara cited the experience of New Zealand where its international visitor arrival increased by 50 percent since the first installment showing of the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy in 2001.
He stressed that recognizing the potential of international and local motion picture production to create jobs, grow the economy, and raise the nation’s international profile, is an opportunity that should be “seized.”
Moreover, he urged the government to give its support to the local movie industry.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed from 1960 to 1999, the Philippines produced an average of 140 movies each year.
However, from 2000 to 2009, local film output fell to an average of 73 annually. Last year, only 78 local films were made.