Arrivals up 10.4 percent in first half of 2006

Data from the Tourism Research and Statistics Division of the Department of Tourism showed that foreign arrivals hit 1.42 million in the January-June period, or up by 134,278 from the 1.286 million arrivals recorded during the same period last year.

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said the first-half figure is within the government’s annual growth target of 10 to 11 percent.

Although the growth in arrivals slowed to 3.9 percent in June from as high as 22.1 percent in January, Durano said he remains confident that total arrivals will reach 3 million, as targeted by the department for the year. Arrivals peaked at 2.6 million in 2005.

“Second quarter arrivals were historically slower than the other quarters of the year. Such fact has already been factored in our full-year projection,” Durano said.

Arrivals grew at its slowest pace of 3.9 percent to 225,623 in June 2006 from 217,250 a year ago, following a 5.9 percent growth in May, 14.1 percent in April, 5.5 percent in March, 11.5 percent in February and 22.1 percent in January.

However, Durano said initial data showed that arrivals grew at a faster level in July, the first month in the third quarter.

“As expected, initial statistics for July shows a pick up in arrivals as we approach the fourth quarter, which is one of the peak quarters. So far, month-on-month growth in arrivals is within our projections,” he said.

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) earlier reported that tourist arrivals was one of the five economic indicators showing positive prospects for the third quarter.

Data showed that the United States remained the top origin of foreign visitors, reaching 308,799 in the first six months of 2006, or up by 8.9 percent from a year ago. Analysts said Filipinos with American passports vacationing in the Philippines were included in the count.

South Korea was fast catching up as the top source of foreign tourists, with 267,417 arrivals representing an 18.9 percent growth over a year ago.

Arrivals from Japan, the third largest market, were up 7.1 percent to 215,273 while arrivals from China surged 41 percent to 64,584 to become the third largest market.

Other top origins of international tourists in the Philippines were Taiwan, Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Germany and Malaysia.

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