Published on : Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Data released by the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed visitors from South Korea growing by 28.36 per cent to 198,145 in January this year, while tourists from mainland China rose by some 30 per cent to 111,344.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo also said: “I am confident that with the combined efforts of the DOT and the stakeholders, we will achieve our 7.4-million international arrivals target for 2018.” Last year the Duterte administration slightly exceeded its 6.5-million foreign visitor-arrivals target.
She also attributed the impressive visitor data for January 2018 to increased connectivity between the Philippines and its major tourism markets.
Teo cited Xiamen Airlines, which has mounted a three-times-a-week commercial direct-flight services between Fuzhou, China to Kalibo, Aklan, and between Fuzhou and Puerto Princesa, Palawan using a 197-seat Airbus A321.
“Another new route from China that our Route Development Team is working on is between Tiajin and Puerto Princesa,” the DOT chief said. “The development of new routes is in consonance with our National Tourism Development Plan’s strategy to upgrade air connectivity from major tourist source markets to the Philippines,” she stressed.
Also posting a double-digit growth from January 2017 is the United States, with visitor arrivals rising by some 15 percent to 109,154; followed by Japan with 57,038 arrivals (+7.8 percent); and Australia with 30,924 arrivals (+4.4 percent).
Visitors from Taiwan and Hong Kong, however, registered dips at 13.6 percent to 18,948, and 7.22 percent to 9,284, respectively.
DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Development Planning Benito C. Bengzon Jr. told the BusinessMirror: “Chinese New Year fell in February this year. This is probably the reason arrivals from Taiwan and Hong Kong dropped slightly in January.” He assured, however, that the DOT’s Market Development Group “will work double time on Taiwan and Hong Kong,” to get more visitors to come to the Philippines.
She noted that the industry is now “among the top contributors to our GDP”. Tourism now accounts for some 10 per cent of the country’s GDP, defined as the total number of goods and services produced by the local economy.