MANILA—Foreign tourist arrivals to the Philippines reached a new all-time high in January this year with over 600,000 visitors, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Friday.
January arrivals totaled 631,639 which is a 16.48 percent growth from the 542,258 visitors acquired in the same period in 2016.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo welcomed this achievement and vowed to “keep the momentum going” with the implementation phase of the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) for 2016 to 2022.
The tourism plan, Teo said, is meant to “unleash the potentials of our tourism industry and make it more competitive.”
Korea remained the biggest visitor market with 154,367 visitors, followed by United States with 99,435 visitors, China with 85,948, Japan with 51,516 and Australia with 27,826 visitors.
Rounding up the top 10 visitor markets are Canada, 24,352; Taiwan, 21,926; United Kingdom, 15,747; Singapore, 12,000: and India, 11,805.
Korea is also the top spending market with visitor expenditure of almost PHP6.5 billion followed by the USA (PHP3.69 billion), Japan (PHP2.12 billion), Australia (PHP1.59 billion) and Canada (PHP1.09 billion).
Teo also noted a significant increase of arrivals from China, which posted a 76.46 percent growth from January last year.
She described this as one of the “fruits” of the efforts of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to reach out to China.
“We are now seeing the fruits of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s reaching out to China. Doors to more economic opportunities and people-to-people exchanges are opulently wide now more than ever that ties between Manila and Beijing have seen a new day,” she said.