MANILA The latest international visitor traffic to the Philippines for February, with a total of 673,831 foreign tourists, "broke record", the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced on Wednesday.
The influx of Chinese tourists contributed to at least 21.6 percent of the figures.
For the first two months, we have already breached the 1.4million tourist mark, another first in the history, and it is a good sign for the tourism industry, DOT Secretary Wanda Teo said in a statement.
The number of visitor arrivals in February was 14 percent, higher than last year's 579,178 figures. The continued growth of the Chinese tourist market, accounts 21.6 percent of the arrivals at 145,536.
Teo said international visitors for JanuaryFebruary period totaled 1,406,337, which is 16.15 percent higher compared to the 1,210,817 total for the same period in 2017.
The warming relations between the Philippines and China plus the Chinese New Year sevenday holiday strengthen the platform for us to jumpstart our campaign of achieving 1.5 million Chinese arrivals for this year, she said.
Within two months, Chinese tourists recorded 256,880 arrivals, the most improved market at an impressive 56.44 percent growth rate, next to the Koreans at 354,700, which remains the country's top tourist source market.
American visitors came in third with 193,985, followed by the Japanese guests at 117,300 and Australians tourists at 50,404.
Completing the top 12 markets are Canada, 48,191; Taiwan, 40,856; United Kingdom, 33,554; Singapore, 28,117; Malaysia, 24,334; India, 23,064, and Hong Kong, 22,920.
The recordbreaking Chinese arrivals to the Philippines is a testament that we've become one of the top destinations for the Chinese market, Teo said.
Last year, the Philippines ranked ninth on the top destinations for Chinese outbound tourists according to TravelChinaGuide, a leading Chinese travel agency.
According to the 2018 Spring Festival Travel Forecast Report issued by Ctrip, China's largest online travel provider, and the China Tourism Academy, the Philippines was also named eighth popular Chinese travel destination during the Chinese New Year.
Teo said the continued rise in the number of foreign guests bodes well for the higher targets set by the DOT amid the controversy on the government's plan to temporarily close Boracay to tourists and rehabilitate its drainage, sewerage and road systems to address water pollution, flooding and traffic problems.
We welcome this increase in our arrivals as we brace for the possible effects of the Boracay rehabilitation. We remain optimistic that the 'new' Boracay, after its beauty rest, will attract more tourists and help the industry break more records, Teo added.
Source: Philippine News Agency