Chinese, Taiwanese lift 5-month tourist arrivals

SUBSTANTIAL increases in the number of Chinese and Taiwanese visitors to the Philippines helped power tourist arrivals in the country to some 2.88 million in the first five months of 2017.

Data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) also showed the total visitor arrivals from January to May this year rose by 14.4 percent to some 2.88 million.

For the second time, however, the DOT failed to report on the visitor receipts, which indicate how much revenues have been generated by the economy from tourists.

The last receipts data was reported for February, when some P40.08 billion was earned in the first two months of 2017, a 19-percent drop from the receipts in the same period in 2016.

The DOT statistics office reported that countries from Asia still accounted for the biggest market share by delivering 60.7 percent of the total visitor volume, or some 1.75 million arrivals for the five months to May. East Asia represented more than half of said volume at some 1.5 million arrivals, while the rest came from the Asean at 203,400 arrivals, and South Asia at 55,543 arrivals.

North and South America supplied a total of 534,012 arrivals, or a share of 18.5 percent of the total visitors. Also, 324,618 tourists (11.3 percent) came from Europe, while 140,979 tourists (4.9 percent) were from the Australasia/Pacific region.

China posted the largest jump in visitors at 36.3 percent to 388,896 in the period of review, making it the third-largest tourism market. This was slower, though, than the market’s 89-percent rise in the first four months of the year. Visitors from Taiwan grew by some 21 percent to 108,643, landing the country in the sixth spot among the top source markets for tourists for the Philippines.

The Philippines tourism industry appears to be benefiting from the warming of diplomatic relations with China, which had promised to send 1 million tourists this year. For the market to hit 1 million, Chinese arrivals in the Philippines have to average some 87,301 every month, from June to December 2017. Looking at past data, however, arrivals from China reached their peak at 85,948 in January, but generally slowed down each month, falling to 73,649 in May.

Yet, this 1-million commitment from Beijing, made during the state visit of President Duterte to China in March, boosted the confidence of DOT officials to raise the agency’s target arrivals to 8 million this year, from the original target of 6.5 million.

The target for inbound tourism receipts this year remains at P407 billion, some 77 percent higher than actual receipts of P230.13 billion in 2016.

Meanwhile, data from the DOT show the top source market for tourists continues to be South Korea, with 686,630
arrivals, posting a growth of 19.1 percent; followed by the US  with 686,630 (+13.6 percent); China; Japan 255,819 (+14.7 percent); Australia 255,819 (+4.1 percent); Taiwan; Canada 97,387 (+18.3 percent); and the UK 97,387 (+8.07 percent).

Decreases were recorded in the arrivals from Singapore (-7.4 percent) to 70,185; Malaysia (-0.55 percent) to 60,578; and Hong Kong (-7.35 percent) to 47,462. India rounded up the top 12 tourism source markets for the Philippines, with a 24-percent rise in visitor arrivals to 45,675.

For the month of May alone, DOT data indicated visitor arrivals reached 532,757, a 19.6-percent increase from the May 2016 visitor count of 445,449. “It could be noted that from 2012 to 2015, the month of May only generated more than 300,000 visitors while it produced more than 400,000 visitors last year. [But for] the first time this year, visitor arrivals in May surpassed the 500,0000 mark providing a bright outlook for Philippine tourism.”

The DOT statistics office attributed the surge in arrivals in the said month due to “aggressive marketing efforts and international events which included the Asean@50 meetings held in the country”.

Image credits: Department of Tourism



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