More Fun in Manila
Officials of the Department of Tourism remain optimistic the country will be able to achieve its target of attracting 10 million foreign tourists by 2016, according to a report by Philippine Star.
“We have been seeing a sustainable increase in arrivals since last year. This building enthusiasm for the Philippines, aided by our government’s good governance agenda, gives us the confidence to achieve our target of 10 million tourist arrivals by 2016,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.
Secretary Jimenez said Philippine tourism has been sustaining its robust performance in foreign visitor arrivals. “This growth is an affirmation of our various marketing and destination development activities, strengthened by partnerships with the various stakeholders,” he said.
“While the upsurge may primarily be attributed to the summer season, it is also a clear indication that the nation has galvanised its reputation as an attractive destination,” he said.
Data show that international visitor arrivals rose by over a tenth in the first five months of 2013 from a year ago, exceeding the two-million mark, according to a report by Interaksyon.com. Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. said arrivals reached 2.011 million, up 10.54 percent from 1.8 million in the same five-month period last year. This is the first time the number of foreign visitors breached the two-million mark for the five-month period.
Arrivals in May alone hit 362,062, or 12.47-percent higher than the 321,920 in the same month last year. Secretary Jimenez attributed the higher arrivals to "greater awareness on the Philippines' offerings."
Top sources of tourists remain the traditional markets such as South Korea, Japan, the US, Hong Kong and China, he said. "Japan is back… So is the US," Secretary Jimenez said, citing the recovery in the two giant economies resulting in increased spending on travel.
He said arrivals may slow in the next three months as the June-August period usually brings in fewer tourists.
Secretary Jimenez said other Asean nationals will lead the jump in tourist arrivals in the Philippines towards the end of the year. "There are more flights [to-and-from other Asean countries] and greater interest from Malaysians, Singaporeans, Indonesians and Thais," he said.
This year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) targets to attract 5.5 million foreign visitors or almost a third more than last year's 4.2 million. Tourist arrivals are expected to double to 10 million by 2016 on the back of the "It's More Fun in the Philippines" campaign.
Records from the DOT showed that South Korea remained the country’s main source of tourists, with 489,389 arrivals in the five-month period, up 23.22 percent. Arrivals from the US increased 2.58 percent to 306,056, the second-highest for the period.
The other main sources of foreign tourists were China, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Germany.
The number of Japanese tourists that visited the country in the first five months of the year reached 179,984, a growth of 7.51 percent. Tourist arrivals from Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia grew by more than 10 percent owing to the increase in the number of intraregional flights, mostly provided by budget airlines.
Tourist arrivals from Singapore grew by 17.18 percent to 70,470; Hong Kong, by 14.25 percent to 55,811; and Malaysia, by 10.74 percent to 45,447. The United Kingdom contributed 52,379 tourists to the total, while Germany added 33,205.
Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said tourist arrivals from Taiwan suffered a temporary setback due to the tragic death of a Taiwanese fisherman in Philippine waters. Records showed a dramatic 15.51-percent decline in arrivals from Taiwan to only 79,297 in the January-to-May period.