Foreign visitor arrivals rose 11.5% in 10 months

MANILA — International visitor arrivals increased 11.5 percent in the first 10 months to 5.47 million from 4.91 million a year ago, led by large number of tourists from China and South Korea, the Tourism Department said Tuesday.

Tourism Decretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo said South Koreans remained the country’s top visitor market with 1.33 million arrivals, representing 24.33 percent of the market, followed by China with 810,807 arrivals or 14.8 percent.

The United States dropped to third place with 785,269 or 14.34 percent of the arrivals; Japan, fourth with 490,857 visitors or 8.97 percent; and Australia, fifth with 206,443 visitors or 3.77 percent.

“With the surge in Chinese and Indian arrivals, we are optimistic to hit the target of at least 6.5 million [in 2017] as set by the National Tourism Development Plan for 2017-2022,” Teo said.

Compared to last year’s figures for the same period, Chinese arrivals jumped 39.3 percent, while India visitors rose 20.28 percent.

Data showed that in terms of revenues, foreign visitor receipts recorded a double-digit gain of 36.28 percent to P243.23 billion in January to September, up 36.6 percent from P178-billion earnings in the same period in 2016. 

“The department will continue aggressive marketing efforts, including through social media. We will promote emerging or developing destinations to entice more visitors from across the globe,” Teo said.

The Tourism Department launched the “It’s More Fun in the Philippine Farms” and revived the “Bring Home a Friend” program as part of its strategy to attract 12 million tourist arrivals by 2022.