Unabated increase in international visitor arrivals bodes a record-breaking year for the country’s tourism industry, hurdling mounting obstacles over the first-five month period.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo disclosed that foreign guest arrivals has totalled 2,882,737 as of the end of May, posting a double-digit increase of 14.43 percent from the same period in 2016.
The month of January saw the biggest chunk of arrivals summing up to 631,639 while April posted the highest growth rate at 19.83 percent.
“This record-breaking numbers, which began during the Miss Universe month, clearly indicates a bright outlook for Philippine tourism,” said Teo, who promised to help improve the tourism industry’s performance.
The tourism secretary also attributed the burgeoning visitor arrivals to the aggressive marketing efforts abroad and high-profile international events held in the country within the last 12 months, like the Madrid Fusion and the recent United Nations World Tourism Organization conference.
“The DOT will continue to tap new and emerging markets including little known tourist destinations and sites which are priority growth areas for tourism development,” added the tourism chief.
She expressed confidence that the streak in visitor arrivals would likely continue throughout the rest of the year and break last year’s 5.9 million record.
Korea remained the top market, delivering a total of 128,691 visitors since January to May this year with, posting an impressive growth rate of 35.84 percent compared to the same period in 2016 with 94,736 arrivals.
The DOT sent a delegation to the Korean Travel Fair in May where they met with Korean travel operators and Seoul-based media.
The US held on to the second spot with 83,056, yielding another double digit increase of 12.78 percent.
Improved Philippines-China relations resulted in 73,649 Chinese visiting the country, a whopping 57.29 percent rise compared to 46,825 Chinese travellers in May last year.
Beijing lifted travel advisories against Chinese visits to the Philippines following President Duterte’s state visit to China last October.