By Analou De Vera
The Department of Tourism (DOT) bared on Wednesday that at least 600,000 foreign tourists had come in the country for the month of February.
Based on the recent data of the DOT, 673,831 international arrivals were recorded during the second month of this year.
The DOT said that February’s visitor arrivals were “carried by the continued growth of the Chinese tourist market accounting to 21.6 percent of the arrivals at 145,536.”
“The warming relations between the Philippines and China plus the Chinese New Year seven-day holiday strengthen the platform for us to jumpstart our campaign of achieving 1.5 million Chinses arrivals for this year,” said Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo- Teo.
The said figure brings to a total of 1,406,337 foreign visitors for January to February, which is 16.15 percent higher as compared to the 1,210,817 that was recorded for the same period in 2017.
“For the first two months, we have already breached the 1.4 million tourist mark, another first in the history and it is a good sign for the tourism industry,” said Teo.
During the two-month period, South Korean visitors continued to lead other international tourist markets reaching at 354,700 arrivals. Meanwhile, Chinese tourists recorded 256,880 arrivals, which is the most improved market with 56.44 percent growth rate, the DOT stated.
“The record-breaking 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 among the top destinations for Chinese outbound tourists according to TravelChinaGuide, a leading Chinese travel agency, the DOT said.
Meanwhile, ranking third in the international market is the United States of America with 193,985 visitors; followed by Japan at 117,300, and Australia at 50,404.
Completing the top twelve markets are Canada, 48,191; Taiwan, 40,856; United Kingdom, 33,554; Singapore, 28,117; Malaysia, 24,334; India, 23,064, and Hongkong, 22,920.
Amid the government’s plan to rehabilitate the Boracay Island, the tourism chief said that the continued rise of foreign guests in the country “bodes well for the higher targets set by the DOT.”
“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,” said Teo.