Published on : Saturday, November 16, 2019
The international arrivals breached the six-million mark in the first nine months of the year, data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed, with about 1.36 million Chinese accounting for the biggest increase.
It was not clear, however, if the Chinese were regular tourists or workers in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) offices who enter the country by securing tourist visas on arrival.
The Department of Tourism said foreign arrivals totaled to 6,161,503 from January to September, a 14.37 percent increase from 5,387,458 arrivals in the same period last year. Despite being a lean month in terms of visitors, foreign arrivals in September surged 17.09 percent to 606,553 arrivals from 518,041 arrivals in the same period a year ago.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that the tourism figures look very promising, and they are glad that more tourists are visiting in light of the accolades received by the Philippines and destinations throughout the year. Korea still remained the country’s top source market in the nine-month period with a total of 1,450,792 arrivals, an estimated 23 percent increase from the 1.18 million arrivals reported last year.
This was followed by China with 1,359,817 arrivals, 39.8 percent higher than the 972,500 Chinese arrivals a year ago.
The United States claimed the third spot with 792,619 arrivals, while Japan registered 518,211 arrivals, landing in the fourth spot. Taiwan secured the fifth spot with 252,578 arrivals. The continued increase in arrivals is a testament to the recent recognition received by the Philippine tourism sector, Puyat said.
The Philippines was also hailed as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination by the 2019 World Travel Awards (WTA) in its Asia and Oceania gala held last October in Phu Quoc, Vietnam. Subsequently, DOT was awarded as Asia’s Leading Tourism Board by WTA at the same event for the significant increase in tourist arrivals for the Philippines in 2018.
In addition, the Japan Tourism Awards (JTA) also presented DOT with its Excellent Partner Award for the agency’s crucial role in the closure and successful rehabilitation of the tourist-favorite Boracay Island. The award was received at the opening of the Tourism Expo Japan last month.
While these awards prove prudence in our efforts to bolster Philippine tourism, ultimately, what keeps doing what they do in the DOT is seeing more of the countrymen revel in the positive impacts of genuine sustainable tourism.