Philippines Visitor Arrivals Compared to Other Asian Countries

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) said the Philippines ranked fifth among nine countries in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in terms of receiving the most number of tourists.

The Philippines, which does not share land borders with any of its neighbors, recorded 4.273 million visitor arrivals in 2012, up by 9.1 percent from a year ago.  The figure represented just 1.8 percent of total Asia-Pacific arrivals.

Southeast Asia accounted for a third of total Asia-Pacific tourist arrivals last year. Southeast Asia also had the highest growth among the Asian sub-regions at 9 percent.  Malaysia welcomed 25.033 million tourists last year, 1.3 percent higher than in 2011. Thailand followed with 22.354 million, up 16.2 percent, while Indonesia and Vietnam ranked third and fourth, respectively. Myanmar had the highest growth at 51.7 percent to 593,000.

“Despite occasional shocks, international tourist arrivals have shown virtually uninterrupted growth,” the UNWTO said.  

This year, international tourist arrivals grew 5 percent in the first half, reaching 494 million.  Growth was above the projection made at the beginning of the year (3 to 4 percent) and is also exceeding the trend of the UNWTO long-term outlook Tourism Towards 2030 (3.8 percent a year).

“The fact that international tourism grew above expectations confirms that travelling is now part of consumer patterns for an increasing number of people in both emerging and advanced economies” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. 

Asia and the Pacific saw a 6-percent growth boosted by the increase in arrivals to South-East Asia (+12 percent), a subregion which is maintaining the extraordinary momentum of recent years, and South Asia (+7 percent).

In Europe, international tourist arrivals were up 5 percent despite the lingering economic difficulties. Growth was led by Central and Eastern Europe (+10{b72d12ecee9fade90e10854e79e98a671cbb00dc34440b2ee5ef5de31595176e}) and Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+6{b72d12ecee9fade90e10854e79e98a671cbb00dc34440b2ee5ef5de31595176e}).
The Americas (+2{b72d12ecee9fade90e10854e79e98a671cbb00dc34440b2ee5ef5de31595176e}) reported a rather weaker first half of 2013 compared to the strong growth of previous years. Central America (+4{b72d12ecee9fade90e10854e79e98a671cbb00dc34440b2ee5ef5de31595176e}) performed above the region’s average, while arrival numbers were flat in the Caribbean and in South America.

Meanwnhile, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is keeping its target of 5.5 million international visitor arrivals in 2013.

International visitor arrivals in the Philippines increased 11 percent year-on-year to 2.8 million in the first seven months, in line with the government’s goal of receiving 5.5 million foreign tourists this year.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said given the seven-month arrival figure, the agency’s projection of 5.5 million visitors by end-2013 is “very much on track.”

Secretary Jimenez said international visitor arrivals in July this year reached 418,000, the highest ever recorded for the month of July.  He said the tourism industry is expected to contribute PhP1.5 trillion to the economy this year, including its impact on other industries. 

He said the tourism industry’s direct contribution or gross added value is expected to reach PhP728 billion, or 6.7 percent of the gross domestic product.   

This contribution is expected to rise to 7.8 percent of the GDP in 2015, based on the arrival target of 8 million, he said.

Secretary Jimenez said under the ASEAN economic integration in 2015, the tourism sector is expected to grow by another 5 percent, on top of the annual performance using a formula designed by the United Nations World Travel Organisation for all 10 members of the ASEAN block.

“That’s pretty much good. We’ll have bigger income. It will, then, be comparable to those countries claiming to have 24 million visitors that include even land arrivals. Ours is like Japan and Australia, with visitors arriving via air only. To include land arrivals is a different matter altogether,” he said.

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