The Philippines targets to attract 7.7 million foreign visitors next year after exceeding its arrival goals for 2023, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Tuesday.
“I understand that this is not yet our pre-pandemic numbers of 2019 at over 8.2 million international arrivals but what I can assure you is that we will push as hard as we can and fully activate our convergences with other government agencies in order to reach this target,” Tourism chief Christina Frasco said during a reception in Makati City.
Frasco said the country has received a total of 5,069,752 international visitors since January.
She said Philippine tourism showed a “remarkable resilience” this year despite being one of the last in Southeast Asia to open up to tourism after the pandemic.
“Under the visionary leadership of our President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., the Philippines has begun to witness the fruits of the plans that have been put in place under his vision for transformation,” she added.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization World Tourism Barometer put the average recovery rate of the Asia-Pacific region at 62 percent from January to September.
The DOT said the Philippines’ recovery in terms of international tourist arrivals has already reached 65.54 percent in the same period.
Frasco shared that the country is also “recovering faster than expected” in its tourism receipts, with PHP458 billion generated from January to November, or 95.85 percent of the 2019 figures.
Of the latest 2023 arrival numbers, the DOT said, 4,658,123 or 91.88 percent were foreign tourists, while the remaining 411,629 or 8.12 percent were overseas Filipinos.
South Korea is the Philippines’ top source market with 1,341,029 arrivals, followed by the United States with 836,694; Japan with 285,655; China with 252,171; and Australia with 238,487.
Meanwhile, Canada landed sixth place with 206,571, followed by Taiwan with 186,140, the United Kingdom with 141,516, Singapore with 140,633, and Malaysia with 92,383.
The sector also created 5.35 million jobs from 2.6 million visitor arrivals in 2022, or 11 for every 100 Filipinos.
As the country gets more international recognition, the DOT will also do its part to push for more quality tourism infrastructure projects, including constructing more Tourist Rest Areas across the country, Frasco said. (PNA)