By Erma Edera
Around 2.12 million tourists visited the historical “Walled City”, registering a 33.56 percent increase in foreign visitors in the first semester of 2019, the Department of Tourism (DOT), through the Intramuros Administration (IA), said.
According to IA, the rise in tourist arrivals in Intramuros exceeded its target by 200,000 visitors for the first half of 2019.
They also recorded a 33.56 percent increase in foreign visitors as compared to the same period last year, bringing a total foreign national travelers to over 245,500.
The IA also said most of the visitors went in the gated areas of Fort Santiago, Casa Manila, and Baluarte San Diego in Intramuros, Manila.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat attributed the increase in tourist arrivals to the “efforts [they] poured in Intramuros for the past year, such as safeguarding its cultural heritage, improving access and mobility in the area, and fostering creativity and innovation for socio-economic growth.”
According to DOT, these arrivals enabled the IA to achieve 70.84 percent of its revenue target for 2019. They said it is expected to exceed the actual revenues generated in 2018 of P78.61 million.
Records from the IA showed the top 10 foreign visitors of Intramuros were from China, Japan, USA/Hawaii, Korea, France, India, Indonesia, Germany, Taiwan, and Malaysia.
Intramuros Administration head Atty. Guiller Asido said that, aside from the preservation of cultural heritage, their goal was to ensure the livability and inclusive development of the community in Intramuros.
“Alongside the preservation of cultural heritage, our goal for Intramuros is to ensure the livability and inclusive development of the community through effective sustainability programs, primarily the livelihood of the residents,” Asido said.
“We also want Filipinos to know that the Walled City is an open venue for all kinds of cultural exchange for people to experience the revitalized Intramuros,” he added.