By Analou De Vera
The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Wednesday said that 1.49 million foreign tourists had visited the country for the first two months of this year.
Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. reported that 1,490,255 international visitor arrivals were recorded from January to February.
During the same period last year, international visitor arrivals posted 1,406,337.
“Growth rate natin is about six percent. Maganda ang takbo natin so far [our growth rate is about six percent. So far, we are on the right track],” said Bengzon during a forum in Manila.
To note, the tourism department is targeting to achieve 8.2 million foreign tourist arrivals by the end of this year.
During the two-month period, South Korea remained the top international tourist market for the country with 180,890 arrivals.
China ranked second with 174,175 tourists. It was followed by the United States of America with 94,632; Japan with 64,365; Taiwan with 30,648; Canada with 22,272; Australia with 21,571; United Kingdom with 16,999; France with 12,934; and Malaysia with 12,862.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that the opening of the international airports in Mactan, Cebu and Bohol helped in bringing in more foreign tourists in the Philippines.
“It is because of the access and connectivity (which is) better now. But, of course we are continually working with the Department of Transportation on rehabilitating the airports,” said Puyat.
“Unlike before…We now have a lot of international gateways,” she added.