Philippines to sustain interest from Korean tourists
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - December 3, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines aims to sustain foreign arrivals from Korea as the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) recently took part in the Philippine Business Mission (PBM) in Seoul, Korea.

The TPB, in cooperation with the Department of Tourism (DOT) Korea, led the delegation composed of 41 representatives from the hotel, resort, travel agency and airline industries.

“Over the years, PBM in Seoul has been an effective avenue to update Korea on the new developments on Philippine destinations and properties,” the TPB said.

This year’s PBM was participated by more than 200 Korean buyers.

Korea remains the country’s top source market despite a 1.19 percent decline in arrivals from January to September to 1.18 million.

It currently accounts for a 21.98 percent share of the 5.36 million total foreign arrivals for the period.

Despite the decline, the DOT remains optimistic that arrivals from Korea will grow especially with the reopening of Boracay.

“Now that we have officially reopened a “better “ Boracay, we expect an influx not just of visitors from Korea, but other source markets as well,” Tourism Undersecretary and spokesperson Benito Bengzon Jr. earlier told The Star.

The island of Boracay soft-opened on Oct. 26, six months after President Duterte ordered its closure.

Bengzon  said Boracay remains a favorite destination among Korean tourists.

He cited that in August 2017 alone, there were 31,025 visitors from Korea who arrived via the Kalibo International Airport.

“And to be fair, the market is actually performing better than our forecast considering the unprecedented temporary closure of the island to facilitate its rehabilitation,” Bengzon said.

“In fact, from May to August 2018, Korea contributed an additional 67,739 arrivals,” he added.

For this year, the DOT is targeting to reach 7.4 million foreign arrivals as set by the National Tourism Development Plan.

In the nine months to September, foreign arrivals grew 8.32 percent to 5.36 million.

Apart from Korea, China remains a top driver of arrivals, accounting for 18.14 percent of the total with 972,550 arrivals, up 34.91 percent year-on-year.

PHILIPPINE BUSINESS MISSION TOURISM PROMOTIONS BOARD
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