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Phl breaches 4M foreign tourists; contributes P316 billion to economy

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By Alithea De Jesus

Two years after the pandemic disrupted the whole world and the reopening of the borders, the recently recorded arrival of more than four million foreign tourists in the Philippines indicates that the tourism industry in the country is heading towards recovery.

No less than the Department of Tourism announced to the media that a total of 4,005,465 visitors arrived in the country from January 1 to September 29, 2023. That being said, the trend of arrival bared that the Philippine tourism industry is heading for a recovery and hopes to achieve the pre-pandemic level in no time.

Speaking during the Travel Sale Expo 2023 and the 1st Global Tourism Conference Trade Fair at SM Megamall, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said, “I am very pleased to deliver the good news that today, we have managed to breach the four million mark in international arrivals into the Philippines. This has brought into our economy over P316 billion.”

“The recovery of the tourism industry was well seen by the end of 2022, with the Philippine Statistics Authority attesting that tourism contributed 6.2 percent to our GDP and contributed no less than Php 1.87 trillion combined visitor receipts for international and domestic. Most importantly, this resulted in the employment of our fellow Filipinos in the number of 5.35 million tourism-related jobs,” she continued.

The tourism chief noted that, under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., the DOT is vigorously carrying out initiatives under the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023-2028 that would sustain this growth and allow the industry to meet its target of 4.8 million arrivals this year.

“Under the leadership of our President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., whose strong belief in tourism has united and given hope to our various stakeholders across the entire tourism value chain all over the country, one of the first things that the DOT, by working with other national government agencies, prioritized is the full reopening of the Philippines to travel and tourism to be able to bring quality jobs to Filipinos and regain livelihood lost due to the pandemic and various calamities that the country has had to face in recent years,” Secretary Frasco said.

“As we continue to pursue tourism that is anchored on our strength as a warm and hospitable people, by showing our visitors the multitude of reasons to Love the Philippines, and by espousing inclusivity and sustainability in our plans and programs if only to ensure that no one gets left behind in our path to recovery, we only see these numbers growing in the coming months,” she added.

Of the total arrivals for the period, 91.58 percent or 3,668,039 are foreign visitors, while 8.42 percent, or 337,426 are overseas Filipinos.

Based on the DOT’s arrivals report based on country of residence, South Korea ranked first in terms of the country’s top source markets, delivering more than a quarter of the total international arrivals to the Philippines with 1,046,176 (26.12 percent), followed by the United States of America (USA) with 679,090 (16.95 percent); Japan with 221,671 (5.53 percent); China with 194,258 (4.85 percent); and Australia with 187,143 (4.67 percent).

Other visitors came from Canada with 164,168 (4.10 percent); Taiwan with 146,396 (3.65 percent); the United Kingdom with 114,096 (2.85 percent); Singapore with 107,674 (2.69 percent); and Malaysia with 72,008 (1.80 percent).

As may be recalled, under the leadership of Secretary Frasco, the DOT has identified seven main objectives in pursuit of the President’s vision for the Philippines to be transformed into a tourism powerhouse in Asia, among these is the diversification of the country’s tourism portfolio through multi-dimensional tourism, which focuses on growing niche markets including golf, dive, and meetings, MICE, as well as film and heritage tourism in addition to the country’s more established tourism products.

In a media interview at the event, the DOT chief expressed her gratitude to all travelers who made the milestone for the industry possible and encouraged tourists to continue supporting Philippine tourism.

“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa ating mga friends and tourists from all over the world that continue to show their love for the Philippines. We are very close to our target of 4.8 million by the end of this year. Kaya naman po I continue to encourage our friends from all over the world to show their love for the Philippines,” she said.

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