The Philippine Star
Tourist arrivals rise 14% in 8 months
The Philippines remains on track with its target of 8.2 million foreign tourists for this year as international arrivals breached the five million mark in end August, the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported over the weekend.
Data from the DOT Office of Tourism Development Planning, Research and Information Management (DOTOTDPRIM) showed foreign arrivals reached 5.55 million from January to August this year, up 14 percent from 4.87 million in the same period last year.
In August alone, foreign tourists arrivals, jumped 27.5 percent to 702,843 from 551,088 in the same month last year.
“This is very encouraging even as we await the completion of the statistics gathered for the month of September,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
Puyat expressed gratitude for the support of the private sector as well as the local government units (LGUs) in the implementation of the government’s sustainable development program throughout the country.
“The convergence approach of the DOT with other government agencies and its partners in the industry is proving effective in expanding travel connectivity while inviting more tourists to come and visit through more enticing tourism products and packages,” Puyat said.
Korea remained the country’s top source of foreign tourists in August registering 185,334 arrivals, followed by China with 170,903.
Arrivals from Japan reached 78,699 overtaking the US, which accounted for 68,418 tourist arrivals in August.
Under the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), the country is targeting a 15 percent increase to 8.2 million foreign tourists this year from the 7.1 million in 2018.
Puyat earlier said more emphasis should be given to the revenues and economic contribution of the tourism sector.
As of the first half of the year, visitor receipts grew 17.6 percent to P245 billion.
“These economic numbers are exciting but the real purpose of why the government is working hard to push these numbers up year after year is for the Filipino people,” Puyat said.
The tourism secretary pointed out the sector’s growing contribution to the economy as well as the rise in the number of employment it generates.
Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), tourism contributed 12.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 at P2.2 trillion.
The sector was also responsible for 5.4 million jobs in the same year.
“At the end of the day, it is the number of lives changed for the better by tourism that would truly count,” Puyat said.