Tourists grow 13 percent as of June 2010

International visitor arrivals in the Philippines grew 13 percent to 1.7 million in the first half of 2010 from 1.5 million a year ago.  The Department of Tourism (DOT) said Korean and American tourists accounted for a combined 40 percent of the six-month volume.  The figure includes 116,109 Filipinos permanently staying overseas, but excludes overseas Filipino workers returning home.  Tourist arrivals hit 308,326 in June, compared to just 264,455 a year ago.
Tourists from South Korea accounted for 333,617 arrivals, representing a sharp 32 percent increase from a year ago.  Korea accounted for 19.5 percent of the tourist market, followed by the United States with 18.5 percent.  Visitors from the US rose slightly to 317,181 from 311,881 a year earlier.  Japan, China and Hong Kong followed with 171,655, 90,223 and 71,867 visitors, respectively, and market shares of 10 percent, 5.3 percent and 4.2 percent.  
Arrivals from Europe also increased despite the European Union’s blacklisting of Philippine carriers for aviation safety concerns. Visitor arrivals from Europe rose 12 percent in the first six months to 182,201, accounting for over 10 percent of volume.
Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim said the government is keeping its target of 3.3 million international visitor arrivals in 2010, despite certain challenges.   “I am truly grateful that, despite the challenges we faced the past week and a half, we were still able to attract 96 foreign delegates from around the world and 191 Filipino sellers representing 112 companies” in the recently held 10th Philippine Travel Exchange (Phitex 2010).
“If we are able to sustain this growth rate through your unwavering commitment to support our promotions efforts, we have no doubt we will hit our target of 3.3 million arrivals by yearend,” he was quoted as saying.

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