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15.97-percent surge in tourist arrivals

Updated

By Betheena Kae Unite

Visitor arrivals in the country hit an all-time record of 732, 506 in January, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has reported.

DOT said arrivals last month was 15.97 percent higher than in January last year.

The Tourism Research and Statistics Division, Office of Tourism Planning attributed the “impressive figure” to the surge in Chinese and Korean tourist visitors.

South Koreans remain the top visitors, with 198,145 arrivals that reflect a 28.36 percent jump from January 2017, while the Chinese arrivals of 111,344 was 29.55 percent higher than last year’s figure.

“This welcome news bodes well for the tourism sector and the government’s efforts to boost the tourism industry, which is among the top contributors to our gross domestic product,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo said.

“Last year’s momentum carried over this year with the improved air connectivity via increased flights between Philippine gateways and various airports in major visitor markets, including China, Korea, the United States, Australia and Canada,” Teo added.

Xiamen Airlines recently started thrice-a-week direct flights between Fuzhou, China, and Kalibo, Aklan, and Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, using Airbus A321 with a 197-seat capacity.

Teo said another new route between Tianjin and Puerto Princesa is in the works.

“The development of new routes is in consonance with our National Tourism Development Plan’s strategy to upgrade air connectivity from major tourist source markets to the Philippines,” she said.

Tourists from the United States also increased to 109,154, a 14.90 percent growth.

Japan contributed with 57,038 arrivals, up by 7.79 percent, and Australia with 30,924, up by 4.41 percent.

Other significant tourist numbers were from Canada with 28,913, Taiwan (18,948), United Kingdom (18,111), India (13,779), Singapore (13,627), Malaysia (12,012), and Hong Kong (9,284).

“I am confident that with the combined efforts of the DOT and the stakeholders, we will achieve our 7.5 million target international arrivals in 2018,” Teo said.

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