More than 3.7 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines from January to June this year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) of the Philippines announced last week. This represented a growth of over 10% over the same period of 2017.
The Philippines continue to attract more travellers with or without Boracay! The encouraging news was communicated by the Philippines Department of Tourism, which indicated that visitors’ arrivals reached an “all time high” of 3,706,721, during the first half of 2018. This represented an increase of 10.4% higher than the January to June 2017 arrivals of 3,357,591.
“This developed after arrivals for June 2018 tallied at 528,747 posting an 11.35 percent increase, compared to the 474,854 arrivals of the same month last year,” the DOT said in a statement.
Close to 63% of all arrivals came from Asia followed by the Americas with 18%, Europe with almost 13% and the Pacific with 4.8%.
Top markets to the Philippines remain South Korea, China PRC and the USA -with a large number being Filipino Americans. While the South Korean market accounted for a 22-percent share of total arrivals and remains number 1, the growth in South Korean visitor arrivals considerably slowed down this year, up only by 2.6% in the first half of the year, compared to a 16% increase for the same period of 2017.
By contrary, strong dynamic of the Chinese market – up by 42% this year so far- makes it possible that it might become the Philippines top market this year. Chinese holiday makers accounted for 17.4% of all tourist arrivals. And the trend might accelerate as the DOT announced to further speed up visa-on-arrival procedures for China.
In third spot was the United States, with arrivals growing by 8.65 percent to 557,833; followed by Japan at 316,060 (up 7.47 percent); and Australia at 140,260 (up 7.07 percent).
Other well performing markets were Canada (121,098 travellers, up by 11.88%); the UK (102,443, up 9.4%); Singapore (91,736 , up 7.66 %). Arrivals from Hong Kong were up by 26% and from India by 15.41%.
Malaysian arrivals progressed however moderately by 2.5% while Taiwan arrivals were the only ones to show a decrease of 5.1%.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat said the DOT’s partnership with the private sector and intensified convergence with relevant government agencies served as impetus in sustaining the upward trajectory of foreign arrivals.
“The DOT’s aggressive marketing promotions and actions to create new air routes and develop new tourism products, travel facilitation, and confidence in tourism investments drummed up the industry and resulted to this stellar performance,” Puyat declared in an official statement.
She quickly added that the big increase of arrival would not have been possible without the consolidated efforts of all stakeholders.
The State Secretary expressed optimism that the first six months of 2018 “is a clear manifestation that the target 7.4 million tourist arrivals by the end of year is achievable.” The result is even more remarkable that Philippines iconic destination Boracay has been closed to tourism since April. The island is expected to reopen to foreign tourists in October, after cleaning of the environment has been achieved.
“We are actually on track. We are halfway the year and we are exactly halfway of our National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) target arrivals,” she further added.