Based on data from the DOT, international tourist arrivals grew 8.5 percent to 2.87 million in January to April this year from 2.6 million in the same period last year.
Walter Bollozos
Tourist arrivals rise 8.5% in 4 months
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Stronger marketing initiatives and improved connectivity spurred an increase in foreign arrivals in the first four months of the year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

Based on data from the DOT, international tourist arrivals grew 8.5 percent to 2.87 million in January to April this year from 2.6 million in the same period last year.

In April alone, foreign arrivals jumped 12.15 percent to 662,987 from 591,137 a year ago.

The Chinese market grabbed the top source market rank from Korea as it grew 26.77 percent with a total of 139,177 arrivals in April.

Korea also registered positive arrivals numbers in April with a 13.68 percent increase to 130,707 arrivals.

Other top markets during the month include the US with 87,710 (up 2.5 percent), Japan with 57,724 (up 17.75 percent) and Australia with 28,683 (up 13.41 percent).

“With the heightened marketing initiatives with the private sector and travel trade counterparts in the various markets, improved connectivity arising from new flights, additional frequencies and expanded capacity brought about by new and upgraded airports, we anticipate more visitors to keep this upward trend sustained,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

“We also attribute increased travel movement and consumption to continued efforts in developing new and existing tourism circuits all over the country in pursuit of sustainable tourism,” she added.

Under the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), the Philippines is targeting to hit 8.2 million foreign arrivals this year, a 15 percent gain from the 7.1 million foreign arrivals in 2018.

Puyat earlier attributed the continued rise of international arrivals to the improving access and air connectivity in the country, driven by the opening of more international gateways such as the Mactan Cebu International Airport and the New Bohol Panglao International Airport.

Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. has emphasized the importance of route development and aviation in tourism promotions.

“When you talk about connectivity, you have to look at two things, one is the flights that will be launched or mounted by the carriers themselves,foreign or local, and the second is the level of preparedness on the supply side,” he said.

Bengzon said for the first three months of 2019, the DOT’s route development team bagged an additional 1.4 million new seats.

In 2018, the DOT’s Route Development Team under the Tourism Development sector facilitated the opening of 40 new international air routes that provided a total of 1,595,568 air seats this year. Of this number, 23 are from local airlines while the remaining 17 are facilitated by international carriers.

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