Tourist arrivals hit 5-yr high in February

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - April 12, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The tourism sector turned in a record feat in February as international arrivals registered the biggest growth rate and volume over the past five years.

Latest data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed international tourists for February rose 20.4 percent to 549,725 from 456,524 in the same period last year, the highest in the past 62 months.

Receipts from tourism activities surged 42 percent to P27.49 billion in February from the P19.35 billion earnings generated a year ago.

“This unprecedented growth we are now experiencing did not happen overnight. In only a few years’ time, we have achieved an enhanced orientation for the DOT as the country’s primary marketing and selling unit. We have restored confidence in the Philippines through a professional, well-planned, and well-supported tourism industry,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.

The Philippines has recorded a total 1.1 million arrivals and continued double-digit growth since January 2016.

DOT said this reflects the strong performance of the tourism industry with aggressive marketing activities, international events held in the country, and increasing awareness of product offerings.

East Asia contributed the biggest arrivals in February with 304,052 visitors or more than half (55.3 percent) of total visitor volume.

North America accounted for 15.8 percent of the market with 87,178 while the ASEAN region comprised 7.3 percent contributing 40,498 arrivals. Australia and the Pacific and Northern Europe registered 4.1 percent each.

Korea remained the top contributor of international tourists with 284,763 arrivals or a 26 percent share in total inbound traffic.

The US supplied the second biggest inbound arrival with 155,796 visitors while the Chinese market ranked third with a total 130,916 visitors. Meanwhile, Japan provided 92,531 arrivals and Australia recorded 43,712 visitors.

Other top visitor countries include Canada with 36,773 arrivals, Taiwan (35,344), Singapore (28,376), United Kingdom (28,238), and Malaysia (23,990).

Moreover, Korea provided P13 billion in receipts followed by the US with P2.87 billion. China placed third with P1.71 billion while Japan and Australia contributed P1.45 billion and P960 million, respectively.

Spending patterns for February showed average daily expenditure was at P4,907.47 while average length of stay registered is 10 nights.

For 2016, DOT is looking at an almost 10 percent increase in foreign receipts to over P250 billion and a 13 percent rise in arrivals to reach six million tourists on the back of better air access and added accommodation facilities.

Tourism contributes eight percent to the country’s gross domestic product and is the third largest dollar earning industry next to the semiconductor and BPO (business process outsourcing) industries. Its contribution is seen to reach 10 to 12 percent in the next three to five years.

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