Foreign tourist arrivals into the country reached 4.68 million for the whole of 2013, which is a 9.56-percent growth compared to 4.27 million arrivals recorded in 2012, latest data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed.
Total revenues gained from inbound visitors for 2013 was up by 15.1 percent and estimated to be at $4.4 billion.
Despite lower by 400,000 compared to the DOT’s target of five million arrivals, the domestic tourism industry demonstrated sustained growth despite the challenges from the previous year like the Zamboanga seige, the Visayas earthquake and Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said that, “Our key source markets generally performed well during the month of December, proof that international confidence has been regained. The Philippines is profoundly grateful for the outpouring of support, aid, and goodwill from all over the world. They were all instrumental in our road to recovery.”
The highest growth rates in terms of tourist arrivals during the year were recorded in February (15.8 percent), June (14 percent) and August (13 percent). Visitor count reached an all-time high of more than 400,000 during the months of January, February, March, July and December.
South Koreans remain the biggest source of foreign tourists with a 24.9-percent share in the total inbound visitors, or equal to 1.17 million arrivals. The number of South Koreans who visited the country last year increased by 13 percent year-on-year.
The United States was the second-biggest source of tourist arrivals, with 674,564 for a share of 14.4 percent.
Japanese visitors continued to rise steadily with 433,705 arrivals, or a 5.1-percent growth from the previous year.
The Chinese tourist market bounced back with the highest year-end growth rate of 69.9 percent for a total visitor count of 426,352. The substantial increase in Chinese visitors was first felt in May 2013 when arrivals posted a 107.7-percent increase.
Other top source markets are Australia with 213,023 arrivals; Singapore with 175,034 arrivals; Taiwan with 139,099 arrivals; Canada with 131,381 arrivals; Hong Kong with 126,008 arrivals; the United Kingdom with 122,759 arrivals; Malaysia with 109,437 arrivals; and Germany with 70,949 arrivals.
By regional grouping, East Asia contributed the biggest arrivals for a share of 49.1 percent with 2.298 million. The region posted a double-digit gain of 12.73 percent from its previous year’s contribution of 2.038 million. The growth from the region was attributed to the opening of new regular and chartered air services, increase in flight frequencies in the country’s key international gateways, and in cruise itineraries.
The Southeast Asian region maintained its position as the third-largest contributor of arrivals, accounting for 9.02 percent of the overall traffic base.
Length of stay
Overall average length of stay of visitors remained at 9.6 nights. Visitors from the US had the longest stay with 13.4 nights.
Average daily expenditure of inbound tourists also increased by 8.7 percent to $101.12. Koreans had the biggest tourism spending at $140.81 a day.
Visitors from Canada recorded the biggest tourism spending at $1,393.68 based on per capita spending of the Philippines’ top markets, and was followed by visitors from Australia with a per capita expenditure of $1,382.48.
Other high-spending markets included Germany with $1,360.34; US with $ 1,334.34; UK with $1,306.86; and South Korea with $874.59.
“We foresee better opportunities for growth this year as we continue to roll-out programs under the National Tourism Development Plan [NTDP]. We also hope to engage more Filipinos in appreciating the value of tourism in the country’s inclusive growth agenda and encourage them to take an active role in growing the industry by being better hosts to both local and foreign tourists,” Jimenez said.