• DOT expects increase in tourist arrivals

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    THE Department of Tourism (DOT) on Sunday announced that the number of tourist arrivals from January to May this year already reached 2.011 million, 10.54 percent higher than the recorded 1.819 million arrivals recorded in the same period last year.

    Koreans are still the country’s top visitors with 489,389 arrivals. American tourists ranked second in the list with 306,056 arrivals, 2.58 percent higher than the number recorded during the same period last year. Japan, meanwhile, accounted for 179,984 tourist arrivals, or 8.95 percent of the total visitor volume.

    Chinese tourist arrivals, on the other hand, registered a slight growth at 18.35 percent, raising their tourist arrivals to 163,879 from 138,466 arrivals.

    Australians kept the fifth spot with 88,190 visitors. Meanwhile, Taiwanese tourists registered only 79,297 arrivals.

    Rounding up the top producers in terms of volume and percentage share are: Singapore with 70,470 (3.50 percent); Canada with 61,086 (3.04 percent); Hong Kong with 55,811 (2.77 percent); United Kingdom with 52,379 (2.60 percent); Malaysia with 45,447 (2.26 percent); and Germany with 33,205 (1.65 percent).

    After the European Union’s recent decision to lift its aviation safety ban on the Philippines, the DOT said that source markets from this region are expected to yield higher volumes as flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) readies to resume its flights to Paris, London, Rome and Amsterdam by September or October.

    “This augurs well for the industry and in meeting our year-end goal of 5.5 million arrivals and our 2016 objective of 10 million. Hopefully, PAL services resume as planned and with the Civil Aeronautics Board’s move to start negotiations for new air service agreements with other European countries, we can expect greater movements from the region.

    Meanwhile, DOT and PAL can mount more aggressive promotions in that sphere to boost not only arrivals, but also investments,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.

    The Tourism Department said that the country welcomed 442,686 European visitors last year. For this year, the DOT is targeting at least 574,565 European tourists. For the following years, the DOT projections for European travelers to the Philippines are at 699,326 in 2014, 851,176 in 2015, and 1,036,000 in 2016.

    “We are also counting on the resolve of other Philippine carriers to improve their aviation security issues as we need to significantly increase access and capacities to penetrate new markets, as well as to grow existing ones,” the tourism chief added.

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