A double-digit increase in foreign tourist arrivals in the country has been recorded in the first five months this year, according to the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT).
In a news release, DOT revealed that international arrivals in the country from January to May 2017 totaled to 2,882,737.
The figure, according to the agency, is a 14.43 percent from the same period in 2016.
“This record-breaking numbers, which began during the Miss Universe month, clearly indicates a bright outlook for Philippine tourism,” DOT Secretary Wanda Teo said.
According to her, the highest number of arrivals this year was recorded in January, totaling to 631,639. The highest growth rate, on the other hand, was recorded in April at 19.83 percent.
The increase, she said, can be attributed to the “aggressive marketing efforts” overseas, as well as the “high-profile international events” held in the country within the past 12 months, including the Madrid Fusion event in April and the recent United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference last month.
“The DOT will continue to tap new and emerging markets including little-known tourist destinations and sites which are priority growth areas for tourism development,” Teo added.
DOT said visitors from South Korea “remained the top market” with a total of 128,691 arrivals.
Coming in second is the United States with 83,056 arrivals, creating double digit increase of 12.78 percent.
The agency added that the warming relationship between Manila and Beijing also brought 73,649 visits of Chinese tourists to the Philippines. In October last year, Beijing lifted its travel advisories against the country, following Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit.
The DOT also expressed confidence that the increase in visitor arrivals would continue throughout the rest of 2017 and break the previous year’s 5.9 million record.