PH tourist arrivals hit 6.6 million in 2017

The tourism industry in the Philippines has achieved another “milestone” after reaching an “all-time high” record of more than 6.6 million tourist arrivals in 2017.

A recent data released by the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed that the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country increased from the previous 5,967,005 in 2016 to 6,620,908  in 2017.

According to the DOT, the Philippines enjoyed an 10.96 percent rise in foreign visitors last year, marking an “unprecedented growth” in the country’s tourism industry.

Citing data from the latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer, the DOT noted that the Philippines “even bested” the average 6 percent tourism growth of the Asia-Pacific region.

It added that the Philippines likewise surpassed the 8 percent average tourism growth of Southeast Asia.

“We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to all the tourism stakeholders who worked hand in hand with the Department of Tourism in achieving another milestone for the country,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said in a statement

She further lauded all the efforts made to achieve the high tourism record despite “a series of political noise, security concerns, and travel advisories against the country” last year.

“We overcame these challenges with the innate resiliency of the Filipinos and the cooperation of everybody. And for that we are very thankful,” Teo added.

According to the DOT, among the factors that contributed to the high tourist arrivals last year included “improved air routes and more cruise calls together with travel infrastructure development, travel facilitation, product development, and tourism investments.”

South Korea remained the country’s top source of visitors with 1,607,821 arrivals, and Boracay and Cebu as their top destinations.

Coming in second was China with 968,447 arrivals “due to the improved ties between the Philippines and China, added air routes, and the Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) option for Chinese nationals.”

The DOT said China is also the “most improved market” with a 43.33 percent growth rate, outperforming the United States’ 957,813 record of arrivals. The U.S. is followed by Japan with 584,180 and Australia with 259,433.

For 2018, the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) has projected around 7.4 million international tourist arrivals.

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