As the Philippines and South Korea celebrate this year 70 years of bilateral relations, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed at a Korean ASEAN Summit in Busan to elevate the level of their countries’ relations to strategic partnership by 2020, allowing the two nations to engage in greater cooperation, including in the tourism field. Korea is already the largest inbound source market for the Philippines.
The two leaders also promised to ramp up cooperation on multiple areas such as trade and investment, infrastructure development, defense, education, and tourism.
The Philippines president recognized South Korea’s economic feat, commending it for becoming one of Asia’s economic and technological powerhouses. The Philippines, he said, continues to persevere and is now in the path towards development as a well-performing and emerging economy.
In 2018, South Korea was the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner, with total trade amounting to over $13 billion. It was also a valued source of foreign direct investments, ranking 13th in the same year.
Numerous South Korean companies are doing business in the Philippines in the field of energy, electricity, electronics, textiles, and shipbuilding. South Korea is also a major source of tourists for the Philippine tourism industry.
The summit witnessed the signature of five new agreements between both countries including an important MOU on tourism cooperation between the Department of Tourism of the Republic of the Philippines and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, signed by Secretary of Tourism Bernadette Romulo-Puyat of the Republic of the Philippines and Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Yang-woo of the Republic of Korea.
The five year tourism promotion agreement with South Korea will help to increase visitor volumes between the countries. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat stated on twitter. “South Korea is undisputed in its position as the top source market of the Philippines for nine consecutive years. We will embark on a more aggressive marketing campaign to continue to capture a bigger chunk of the Korean market.”
The Philippines eyes for this year two million travellers from Korea, following 1.6 million last year. The Philippines will continue to promote secondary destinations while hoping that airlines will continue offering new routes into secondary destinations around the archipelago. There are 12 carriers plying the Philippines and South Korea—Asiana, AirAsia, Air Busan, Air Seoul, Jet Air, East Star, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines, and Pan Pacific Airlines.