Chinese tourists help boost arrivals
MANILA -- Strong arrivals of Chinese tourists in August helped boost the overall visitors arrivals in the Philippines to 3.18 million in the first eight months of the year, up 11.3 percent from the year-ago level of 2.86 million.
This puts the Philippines on track of its goal of reaching 5.5 million arrivals by the end of 2013, as it represents close to 58 percent of said target, according to Tourism Assistant Secretary and Spokesman Benito Bengzon Jr.
In 2012 the Philippines breached the 3-million mark only in September.
Data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed Chinese tourists reached 288,826, accounting for 9.08 percent of total visitors for the period. The Chinese market also grew the largest among the Philippines’s top five sources of tourists, expanding by almost 61 percent from its January-August 2012 figure, and increasing by almost 17 percent from January-July 2013. For August alone, the DOT said Chinese visitors jumped by 206.43 percent.
Political misunderstandings between the Philippines and People’s Republic of China over islets and atolls in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) have resulted in an informal ban on Chinese travels to the Philippines.
South Korea continued to be the largest source of visitors for the Philippines with 822,128 arrivals during the period, and rising by 21.06 percent. This was followed by the United States at 457,819 (up 2.5 percent); Japan 293,445 (up 9.23 percent); China 288,826 (up 61 percent); and Australia 131,997 (up 15.11 percent).
The other top markets for the Philippines were: Singapore 114,018; Taiwan 103,306; Hong Kong 86,396; Canada 84,353; and United Kingdom 80,121.
Bengzon noted that significant gains were also recorded in markets such as Saudi Arabia, with arrivals up 35 percent to 27,094; Russian Federation, up 32.53 percent (21,736); Indonesia, up 28.63 percent (30,319); France, up 18.45 percent (27,380); Thailand, up 17.85 percent (31,638); and India, up 15 percent (35,173).
The Philippines aims to attract some 10 million tourists by 2016.