The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced that tourist arrivals in the country reached an “all-time high” record in January, breaching last year’s figure by 15.97 percent with 732,506 foreign visitors in the Philippines.
The figures gathered by the DOT Tourism Research and Statistics Division, Office of Tourism Planning, showed that a significant factor is the influx of Chinese tourists, as well as the continued arrivals en masse of South Koreans, still the country’s top visitor market.
Data disclosed by the agency showed that South Koreans’ 198,145 arrivals reflect an impressive 28.36 percent rise from January 2017 while the Chinese arrivals of 111,344 indicate a 29.55 percent increase from the same period last year.
“This welcome news bodes well for the tourism sector and the government’s efforts to boost the tourism industry, which is among the top contributors to our gross domestic product,” said Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo in a statement Wednesday.
“Last year’s momentum carried over this year with the improved air connectivity via increased flights between Philippine gateways and various airports in major visitor markets, including China, Korea, the United States, Australia and Canada,” she added.
Recently, Xiamen Airlines mounted a three-times-a-week commercial direct-flight services between Fuzhou, China to Kalibo, Aklan and Puerto Princesa, using Airbus A321 with 197 seat capacity.
“Another new route from China that our Route Development Team is working on is the Tiajin (TJN)-Puerto Princesa (PPS),” bared Teo.
“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 said.
Also posting a double-digit growth from January 2017 is the United States with visitor arrivals of 109,154 an increase of 14.90 percent, Japan with 57,038 an increase of 7.79 percent, and Australia with 30,924 arrivals, a 4.41 percent growth.
Other arrivals that improved in January 2018 compared to the same period last year are Canada, 28,913; Taiwan, 18,948; United Kingdom, 18,111; India, 13,779; Singapore 13,627; Malaysia, 12,012; and Hongkong with 9,284 visitors.
“I am confident that with the combined efforts of the DOT and the stakeholders, we will achieve our 7.5 million target international arrivals in 2018,” Teo ended. PNA