Philippines surpasses 4 million foreign tourist mark

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star
Philippines surpasses 4 million foreign tourist mark
Passengers crowd the counters as they troop early to the NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City on April 2, 2023 to avoid the influx of passengers heading to their respective provinces for the holy week break.
STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has welcomed over four million foreign travelers as of the near-end of September, announced the Department of Tourism (DOT).

As of Sept. 29 this year, a total of 4,005,465 foreign travelers have visited the country, according to Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco.

Of the arrivals, over 3.6 million were foreigners while over 337,000 were Filipinos living overseas, based on DOT data.

South Korea remained the Philippines’ top source of tourists this year, followed by the United States, Japan, China and Australia.

Also making up the country’s top ten source of foreign travelers were Canada, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Singapore and Malaysia.

The arrival of more than four million tourists so far this year benefited the Philippine economy, with the country earning an estimated P316 billion, Frasco said.

She added that the DOT is close to achieving the target of 4.8 million tourists by yearend.

For her part, DOT Undersecretary Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar declared that the agency would work “double-time” to promote the Philippines as a Muslim-friendly destination.

It would start to encourage an estimated 15 million Filipino Muslims to visit the country’s tourist spots, followed by travelers from Muslim-dominant countries.

Among the projects and programs that the DOT will implement are the accreditation of halal-certified establishments and a travelogue for Muslim travelers, Abubakar said.

Currently, Malaysia is the Philippines’ top source of Muslim tourists with 71,613 as of Sept. 28.

Meanwhile, 4,054 tourists from Bahrain and 2,266 others from Pakistan have also visited the country.

Among the foreign travelers visiting the Philippines are Lujane Yacoub and Erica Robin, who will represent Bahrain and Pakistan in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant and will undergo pageant training in the country.

During a press conference at the Dusit Thani Manila hotel in Makati City yesterday, Yacoub and Robin said they are looking forward to experiencing the lush greenery in the country and the warm welcome of Filipinos, as well as the country’s halal dishes.

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