International visitor arrivals in the Philippines went up by 11.7 percent year-on-year in the first eight months of 2011, led by a substantial increase in guests from Korea, which has solidified its position as the country’s top tourism market. The Department of Tourism reported that some 2.6 million foreign tourists visited the country in the January-August period, up from just 2.33 million visitors a year ago. Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said this puts the country on track of achieving 6 million tourists by 2016.
Data show that all the months of the year saw an average of more than 300,000 tourists. The month of July recorded the largest volume with 360,784 while the month of February posted the highest growth rate at 18.52 percent. Koreans accounted for the largest share in visitor count at 23.63 percent with 615,218 arrivals. Arrivals from Korea surged 29.7 percent from 474,395 in 2010. The US market captured 16.49 percent share of the total visitor traffic with 429,280, growing by 5.32 percent year-on-year. Arrivals from Japan, with a 9.7 percent share, went up by 5.4 percent to reach 253,529 in the first eight months.
East Asia accounted for 46.71 percent share or 1,216,222 arrivals while North America was the second largest source with an aggregate of 506,772 visitors for a share of 19.46 percent. ASEAN region is the third largest source with 217,454 arrivals or 8.35 percent of the total visitor volume, with an increase of 13.02 percent.
Visitors from Australasia/Pacific constituted 5.53 percent of the total inbound traffic with 144,083 arrivals. This figure was 15.16 percent higher than the 125,111 arrivals in 2010. Arrivals from Northern Europe were up by 9.65 percent to 108,318.