Chinese tourists hike visitor arrivals in Philippines
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - March 24, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — China is seen to be among the top tourist sources of the Philippines, including Cebu.

Glenn Penaranda, commercial counselor at the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Beijing, said the Philippines is becoming a popular destination of choice among Chinese travelers.

"The visit of Chinese tourists in the Philippines is generating a lot of interest," he said in a recent meeting with Cebuano businessmen this week.

"Chinese tourists here are increasing," he said.

Penaranda noted that tourism is one of the sectors set to benefit from the improved relations between the Philippines and China under President Duterte.

He said the spending capacity of Chinese tourists is increasing with the rising middle class in China.

Chen Xiang, managing director of Bank of China, said the Philippines has become a popular destination among Chinese.

"The improved relations between the two countries bring more chance of Chinese tourists here," he said.

In February 2018, the tourism industry posted 673, 831 visitor arrivals carried by the continued growth of the Chinese tourist market accounting to 21.6 percent of the arrivals at 145,536, the Department of Tourism earlier reported.

DOT Secretary Wanda Teo earlier said in a statement the latest figures bring to a total of 1,406,337 international visitors for January-February, which is 16.15 percent higher compared to the 1,210,817 total for the same period in 2017.

“The warming relations between the Philippines and China plus the Chinese New Year seven-day holiday strengthen the platform for us to jumpstart our campaign of achieving 1.5 million Chinese arrivals for this year,” Teo added.

Chinese tourists recorded 256,880 arrivals, the most improved market at an impressive 56.44 percent growth rate, next to the Koreans at 354,700, which remains the country’s top tourist source market.

American visitors came in third with 193,985, followed by the Japanese guests at 117,300 and Australians tourists at 50,404.

Completing the top twelve markets are Canada, 48,191; Taiwan, 40,856; United Kingdom, 33,554; Singapore, 28,117; Malaysia, 24,334; India, 23,064, and Hong Kong, 22,920.

The record-breaking Chinese arrivals to the Philippines is a testament that the country becomes one of the top destinations for the Chinese market,” Teo said.

Last year, the Philippines ranked ninth on the top destinations for Chinese outbound tourists according to Travel China Guide, a leading Chinese travel agency.

According to the 2018 Spring Festival Travel Forecast Report issued by Ctrip, China’s largest online travel provider, and the China Tourism Academy, the Philippines was also named eighth popular Chinese travel destination during the Chinese New Year.

Meanwhile, DOT data had also shown tourist arrivals in Central Visayas hit 2.98 million in the first half of 2017. Of the total,2.25 million came to Cebu, followed by 400,905 in Negros Oriental, 285,484 in Bohol and 54,353 in Siquijor.

The region’s top five foreign markets in terms of tourist volume for the said period are Korea (402,858), Japan (183,644), China (171,197), USA (106,075) and Australia (32,396).

Arrivals from Korea, Japan and China posted positive growth at 2.31 percent, 2.82 percent and 55.54 percent, respectively.

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