Philippines exceeds international arrival target, promotes golf tourism in country

The Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DoT) has announced that the country has breached its target of 4.8 million international visitor arrivals before year end.

Tourism secretary Christina Garcia Frasco made the announcement during the DoT’s first Philippine Golf Tourism Summit held at Grand Hyatt Manila on November 28.

Panellists in discussion at the first Philippine Golf Tourism Summit

As of November 27, the country has registered a total of 4,822,530 visitors who visited the country, with foreign tourists comprising the bulk of arrivals at 4,430,725, while the remaining 391,805 are returning overseas Filipinos.

Specifically, South Korea remains the country’s top source market for foreign arrivals which brought in 1,271,602 tourists, followed by the US with 797,181, Japan with 272,735, China with 242,107, and Australia with 225,464.

Frasco shared: “Tourism continues to drive growth and provide income and jobs nationwide. With the implementation of the National Tourism Development Plan 2023 to 2028 approved by President Marcos, we are beginning to see the merits of our strategies towards increasing connectivity, convenience, and equality in tourism development and promotions, as well as the invaluable partnership of our tourism stakeholders in the private sector.”

She attributed the achievement to the liberalisation of visa policies, the building of tourist rest areas, the establishment of the first ever multi-platform tourist call centre, the construction of tourism roads, the development of cruise, education, medical, gastronomy, and sports tourism, expansion of dive tourism, and heritage and cultural tourism caravans and all other initiatives that have been lobbied by the DoT to attract visitors.

The DoT is also positioning the Philippines as a global hub for sports tourism, including golf.

Currently, the country has over 100 golf courses spread across Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and Santa Barbara Golf Course in Iloilo Province, one of the oldest golf courses in Asia.

“Golf tourism represents a promising frontier for the Philippines and this summit highlights our proactive approach in understanding, nurturing, listening to the golf tourism industry and developing this niche as part of our tourism industry portfolio,” added Frasco.

“We are hopeful that this first Philippine Golf Tourism Summit can be a catalyst and serve as a platform to gather insights, recommendations, and concerns, paving the way for informed decisions and strategies as well as a unified national government tourism policy towards golf tourism that can be aligned with our local government units all over the country.”

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