Arrivals into the Philippines crossed 1.4 million in the first two months of 2018 for the first time, up 16.2 per cent year-on-year, driven by growth in the Chinese tourist market, according to the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT).
“The warming relations between the Philippines and China plus the Chinese New Year seven-day holiday strengthen the platform for us to jump-start our campaign of achieving 1.5 million Chinese arrivals for this year,” DOT secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said.
Chinese tourists recorded 256,880 arrivals, the most improved market at an impressive 56.4 per cent growth rate, next to South Korea at 354,700, which remains the country’s top tourist source market.
America came in third with 193,985, followed by Japan at 117,300 and Australia at 50,404.
Completing the top 12 markets are Canada, 48,191; Taiwan, 40,856; the UK, 33,554; Singapore, 28,117; Malaysia, 24,334; India, 23,064, and Hong Kong, 22,920.
Last year, the Philippines came in ninth in a ranking of top destinations for Chinese outbound tourists according to TravelChinaGuide, a leading Chinese travel agency.
Based on the 2018 Spring Festival Travel Forecast Report issued by Ctrip, China’s largest online travel provider, and the China Tourism Academy, the Philippines was also named the eighth most popular Chinese travel destination during the Chinese New Year.
Teo said the continued rise in the number of foreign guests bodes well for the higher targets set by the DOT amid controversy on the government’s plan to temporarily close Boracay to tourists and rehabilitate its drainage, sewerage and road systems to address water pollution, flooding and traffic problems.