International visitor arrivals increased 3.5 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2014, according to the Department of Tourism (DoT). The Philippines welcomed 884,014 visitors in January and February this year, up from 854,187 arrivals recorded a year ago. The month of January supplied 461,383 visitors which was 5.8 percent higher than a year ago while the month of February provided 422,631 visitors for a growth of 1.1 percent.
Visitor arrivals from the Asian region accounted for 60.7 percent in the two-month period, with South Korea, China and Japan from the East Asia sub-region leading the volume. In particular, ASEAN countries presented significant growth in absolute terms with a 7-percent increase. The Americas and Europe comprised 18.33 percent and 11.35 percent, respectively, of the total.
The Korean market led all other markets for the period in review by providing 220,831 visitors to the country and contributing 24.98 percent of the total inbound traffic. This market slowed down by 8.41 percent, when compared to its arrivals for the same months in 2013 at 241,116.
The United States (up 9.2 percent) supplied the second largest group of tourists with 131,978 visitors, constituting 14.93 percent of the total visitor volume. The Chinese market, with a total 99,017 managed a growth of 42.25 percent, a significant boost to the industry with the observance of Chinese New Year.
Japan (up 2.4 percent) ranked fourth, amassing 75,383 visitors, or 8.53 percent of the total. The fifth major outbound market to the Philippines was Australia, providing 38,009 arrivals and a share of 4.3 percent. This market recorded an encouraging 11.5 percent growth.
Other top visitor markets are Canada ( up 12.5 percent) with 28,506 arrivals; Singapore ( up 6.7 percent) with 27,538 arrivals; Taiwan (down 35.1 percent) with 24,615 arrivals; the United Kingdom (up 25.6 percent) with 23,321 arrivals; and Hong Kong (down 8.4 percent) with 21,160 arrivals.
Other emerging markets with substantial growth in inbound traffic were Italy (up 18.8 percent) with 4,204 arrivals; Vietnam (up 16.9 percent) with 5,168 arrivals; Switzerland (up 13.3 percent) with 5,148 arrivals; Indonesia (up 12.3 percent) with 7,879 arrivals; and Germany (up 11.8 percent) with 15,395 arrivals.