Tourist arrivals hit 2.14M in first half

Posted at 08/03/2012 2:41 PM | Updated as of 08/03/2012 7:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism reported 2.14 million foreigners visited the Philippines in the first six months of the year, 11.68% higher than the same period last year.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez attributed the steady growth in tourists to the tourism campaign "It's More Fun in the Philippines."

“Since the campaign launch in January, we have been actively spreading the 'fun' to all corners of the globe, notably in Germany during the world’s largest travel fair, International Tourismus Borse; in Japan during the 6th Philippine Business Mission; in the US for the Memphis in May International Festival; in the Middle East during the Arabian Travel Mart; and currently in Korea with our participation at the Yeosu Expo 2012," he said.

"Our presence in U.K. is intensified through our mobile ads on the double-decker buses, taxicabs, and the underground rail stations, with the perfect opportunity to capture millions of viewers of the ongoing London 2012 Olympics.  We expect to see more tourists during the peak season before the year ends."

South Korea remains the biggest source of tourists, with 474,685 Koreans visiting the country in the first half, a 10.5% growth compared to the previous year.

Aside from South Korea, the DOT noted other key markets US, Japan, China, and Taiwan also showed positive growth.

During the January to June period, there were 354,259 visitors from the US, up 4.8% from a year ago.  There was also a 7.79% jump in tourists from Japan to195,504.

Despite the rift between Chinese and the Philippine government over disputed islands in the South China Sea, there was still a 43% growth in Chinese tourists to 150,749 in the first half.

The number of Taiwanese tourists also grew by 34.47% to 114,269 tourists.

Showing positve growth were markets such as Australia with 92,648 arrivals (11.95%), Singapore with 73,015 (10.36%), Canada with 65,503 (7.12%), Hong Kong with 57,790 (2.36%), United Kingdom with 57,181 (11.30%), Malaysia with 49,788 (11.96%) and Germany with 34,189 (12061%).

The number of overseas Filipinos visiting the country also went up 4.46% to 110,703.

"The Philippine tourism industry is beginning to enjoy an international renaissance, which has the capacity to propel the country into one of the region’s best performers over the next decade.  With P1.99 trillion projected receipts by 2016, we can look forward to seeing tourism become not just an economic activity, but an entire industry driving inclusive and sustained growth in the country," Jimenez said.