Philippine tourist arrivals hit 4 million

Fourist tourist arrivals in the Philippines broke through the 4 million barrier this August for the first time.

The country has enjoying growing popularity among overseas visitors in the last year. In August alone, the country saw 502,739 tourists arrive on its shore, a rise of 4.59 per cent year-on-year and the first time that number has surpassed 500,000.

Indeed, most months have seen tourist figures rise by double digits this year, according to the Philippine Department of Tourism. As a result, 2016 has been a record year, with arrivals between January and August 2016 growing 12.59 per cent compared to the same period in 2015. That growth took the total number of visitors from 3.59 million to 4 million for the first time in the country’s history.

Asia made up the majority of visitors (60.95 per cent), followed by North and South America combined (17.47 per cent) and Europe (10.38 per cent).

Tourism remains a major driver of the nation’s economy. The Philippines earned P164.25 billion in tourism receipts from January to August this year, up 7.92 per cent, reports PhilStar.

Investors, too, are increasingly bringing money to the islands: the Philippines ranked in the Top 10 most sought-after destinations on TheMoveChannel.com in August 2016 for the fourth month in a row.

 

Philippines targets 2 million Chinese tourists a year

24th October 2016

The Philippines is targeting two million Chinese tourists a year, as ties between the countries continue to strengthen.

In 2015, Chinese arrivals to the country rose 24.28 per cent to 490,841, making up almost one in 10 (9.16 per cent) of every visitor to the Philippines that year – its fourth biggest market. Statistics from the China National Tourism Administration show that arrivals from the Philippines grew 3.7 per cent year-on-year – its 11th biggest market.

The Department of Tourism, though, is confident that should the countries continue to improve its ties, the Philippines can exceed its growth target of one million tourist arrivals in 2017. In fact, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo has said that tourism stakeholders from China told her the country could easily attract two million Chinese visitors as soon as next year.

“Next year would be a good year for DOT because the tourism arrival will increase significantly. I’m only eyeing one million increase every year and with China giving us two million, then, if you have six million now plus two million, then you could have a total of eight million arrivals (next year),” Teo said.

Teo acknowledged that there are a number of obstacles that need addressing to pave the way for more Chinese arrivals, including visa processing times and accommodation facilities.

The former is already being tackled by the Department of Tourism and the Department of Foreign Affairs, with the aim of offering visa-free entry to Chinese tourists, although Teo has said that this would need to be a reciprocal arrangement.

CNTA chairman Li Jinzao has also suggested that the Philippines should host the opening ceremony of the China-ASEAN Expo ahead of the Chinese New Year in 2017, with a delegation of investors, tour operators and the press to attend.

As a result of this mutual enthusiasm, the countries have now drafted and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cement their tourism cooperation in the coming years. The agreement includes the two-way exchange of professionals and administrators to share knowledge and help in developing hotels, resorts and other tourism products and industries in each country, as well as a joint marketing initiative to promote the destinations.

The latter, meanwhile, is expected to spark a burst of investment, as the tourism head urges Chinese businessmen to invest in hotels and resorts in the country, particularly away from Manila. Teo met with eight Chinese investors last week, including travel agencies, charter companies and hotel owners to discuss their concerns and queries about operating in the Philippines.

The talks took place following the launch of Portofino Ocean’s Edge Resort earlier this year. Located on the island of Carabao, the resort is designed to cater to the rising level of international tourists, including Chinese visitors. Indeed, Portofino is a premium hospitality brand owned by the Plateno Group based in China.

The five-star development is set to open later this year.

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