The Philippines has received more than four million foreign visitors since the beginning of 2023, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco shared the inspiring data Friday.
The country hit a total of 4,005,465 in arrivals, accounting for over PHP316 billion in tourism spending as of posting.
“I am very pleased to deliver the good news that today we have managed to reach the four-million mark in international arrivals in the Philippines,” she said during the opening of the 2023 Travel Sale Expo at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.
Banking on revenge travel and the expected influx of tourists during the holiday season, Frasco is optimistic the country could still reach its targeted 4.8 million arrivals by the end of the year.
“The Philippines continues to be a top-of-mind destination all over the world. We have a number of award-winning destinations. We’re optimistic that we will be able to meet if not exceed the target set for the end of the year,” she said.
South Korea remains as the country’s top tourist market with 1.04 million visitors this year, followed by the United States, Japan, China, and Australia.
Based on the latest figures, the Philippines has so far received 194,209 Chinese tourists this year. Before the pandemic, Chinese travelers reached over 1.7 million.
Frasco also assured tourism stakeholders that the Department of Tourism (DOT) will do its part in matching their work in promoting the Philippines as a top destination.
“Tourism is back. What I can assure our partners in the private sector in the tourism sector is that we will try to, as best as we can, to match the hard work (they) put in to ensure that this industry continues to thrive,” she said.
Frasco said the DOT will also continue pushing for visa policy reforms as it seeks to attract more Chinese tourists and other emerging markets into the country.
The tourism chief said she hopes to see improvement in the new electronic visa system that was piloted in China last August.
The three-day Travel Sale Expo would contribute to increased travel activities within the country, Frasco said.
“It will also help our key destinations like Boracay, Cebu, Palawan, Bohol, and the like, including our emerging destinations in other parts of the country,” she said.
The expo features over 100 exhibitors representing travel agencies, airlines, hotels, tour operators, cruise liners and travel insurance, among others.
“Travel Sale Expo was born not only to promote tourism but also (sustain) jobs in the tourism industry. The Travel Sale Expo is actually open to all tourism stakeholders, they don’t need to be accredited in our travel association as long as they are operating legitimately in the Philippines,” 2023 Travel Sales Expo chairperson Michelle Taylan said. (PNA)