Tour operators in the Philippines believe that the global tourism industry has shrugged off last month's hostage crisis in the country and will flock to this Asian destination in the coming months, an apex body of travel agents said.

In a statement released on Monday, Tourism Congress President, Alma Jimenez, said although the setbacks are serious and costly for the country, the industry remains confident that the overall goals set by both the government and the private sector were still achievable.

Over 3.3 million foreign tourists are expected in the Philippines in 2010, though concerns have been expressed that the number may decline following the hijacking of a tour bus carrying 21 Hong Kong tourists, which resulted in the death of eight on board.

Jimenez said in order to assist the government reach its expected tourist target, the member organisations of the Tourism Congress would be launching marketing campaigns to counter negative publicity.

Private tour operators have also held one on one business meetings with other travel wholesalers from Europe, North America, South Korea and other Southeast Asian countries, as well as spearheading the Philippine Travel Exchange and the Philippine Travel Mart.

The Philippine Association of Health Organisations in Medical Tourism will also promote the Southeast Asian archipelago as a medical travel destination in the Employer Healthcare Congress and World Medical Tourism Congress in Los Angeles in September.