Pornography, plagiarism: controversial tourism minister resigns

Philippine Tourism Minister Alberto Lim announced his resignation on Friday following a bruising term in which he oversaw a marketing disaster and quarrelled with the travel industry.

Lim, 61, said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family after just 13 months in the job, but he also conceded that frequent criticism of him may have impacted his ability to carry out his duties.

"I am ready to accept (criticism) but I did not want that to get in the way of the (tourism) department," Lim, who will formally step down on August 31, told a press conference.

Lim, a former high-profile businessman, courted controversy with his outspoken comments criticising some of the travel industry's practices and the over-commercialisation of key holiday destinations.

He was also forced to scrap an international tourism campaign in November amid allegations that its logo plagiarised one from Poland, and that its domain name was just one letter different from a pornographic website.

Nevertheless, President Benigno Aquino's spokesman praised Lim's work, crediting him with allowing more budget airlines to start flying to the Philippines and boosting tourist numbers.

"He has put in place enduring policy foundations for tourism's growth... and he has done so with tenacity, integrity, and vigour," presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

Lacierda said Aquino had yet to decide on a replacement for Lim.

Despite many natural wonders and more than 7000 islands, the Philippines has long lagged behind its Southeast Asian neighbours in attracting tourists.

Poor infrastructure, corruption and poverty throughout the Philippines are the some of the factors holding back the country's tourism industry.

AFP

Comments