The Philippine Star

Tourist ar­rivals rise 14% in 8 months

- By CATHER­INE TALAV­ERA Business · Travel · Tourism · Philippines · Department of Tourism · United States Department of Transportation · South Korea · China · Japan · United States of America · Philippine Statistics Authority

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.

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