The Department of Tourism (DoT) aims to lure 1.5 million Chinese tourists to the Philippines this year.
In a statement on Friday, Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tao said “warming relations between the Duterte administration and the Chinese government, despite the Scarborough territorial dispute,” gave the country a greater advantage in increasing the number of travelers and investments from mainland China.
A total of 968,447 Chinese citizens visited the country in 2017, a 43.33-percent increase from 675,663 the year before, according to the DoT.
As part of efforts to meet this goal, the department is eyeing Chinese cruise companies and charterers.
These include cruise ships SuperStar Virgo and Genting World Dream, which launched their Philippine routes last year; Costa Cruise Atlantis, which can accommodate about 48,420 guests and will start deployment this month; and Royal Carribean Voyager and Ovation, which can hold a combined 7,000 passengers and will visit the country in June and July, respectively.
“We are also preparing more choices for the Chinese market. We are now pushing Puerto Princesa, Davao, and other destinations,” Teo said.
Boracay, Cebu, and Bohol were the favorite destinations of Chinese travelers last year, according to the DoT’s Annual Visitor Sample Survey 2017.
The department’s Visa-Upon-Arrival policy for Chinese tour groups and the Visa-free policy for Chinese holding valid visas to the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, and Schengen states will be continued this year to help achieve the target.