SOUTH KOREA remained the top contributor of international arrivals to the country for the first seven months of 2015, the latest data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) show.
The DOT said there were 762,277 arrivals from Korea in the first seven months, accounting for a 24.5 percent share to total inbound traffic and representing a 15.1 percent growth compared to the 662,228 arrivals for the same period in 2014.
“There’s a very healthy exchange of two-way traffic between the Philippines and Korea. I hope we can get the additional 800,000 so that we can finally reach our target of 2 million Korean visitors to the Philippines,” DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Development Benito C. Bengzon, Jr. said during the recent Korean Incentive Roadshow.
“But very clearly, the two-way traffic has never been better. Flights have increased and when you talk about the 3,000 or so Korean passengers that arrive in the Philippines every day, we are achieving a more equitable distribution of tourist traffic around the country. Nowadays, you don’t see Koreans just landing in Manila but you see them landing in Mactan, Cebu, in Kalibo, in Clark, Davao, and many other places,” Bengzon explained.
“For us in the tourism industry, this is very significant as this helps us push for our strategic of making tourism truly a more inclusive industry for Filipinos,” he said.
“The Department of Tourism reaffirms its support to the Korean Tourism Organization and we would like to renew our commitment to supporting your initiatives to promote and develop various industries particularly in the area of tourism,” he added.
For his part, Republic of Korea Ambassador to the Philippines Jae-Shin Kim said: “Koreans account for around 25 percent of foreign arrivals in the Philippines. This translates to more than 3,000 Koreans entering the Philippines every day. By comparison, it should also be noted that more than 200,000 Filipinos visited Korea last year and this number is gradually increasing as more Filipinos are discovering the many attractions that Korea has to offer.”
“In fact, Korea is fast becoming one of the favorite destinations of Filipino tourists. Furthermore, medical tours are increasingly gaining followers from many countries,” he explained.
“I believe this is the ideal moment for more Filipinos to visit Korea. Indeed, this event offers the perfect venue to generate insightful ideas a in the tourism industry are in the best position to make this happen. What we are doing now, therefore, is more than just a marketing strategy but further raising our already cooperative relations to new heights,” he said.
US, Japan also major tourism markets
Meanwhile, the United States supplied the second biggest inbound arrival with 481,167 visitors, constituting 15.47 percent of the total and posting a 6.98 percent increase compared with arrivals of 449,793 for the same period last year.
Japan ranked third, providing a total of 278,884 visitors and sharing 8.97 percent to the total. The Japanese market grew by 7.64 percent from the 2014 arrivals of 259,086.
China placed fourth by contributing 257,014 visitors. It comprised 8.27 percent of the total inbound traffic and it should be noted that this market continues to recover from its slump last year and has started showing positive growth since April of this year.
The fifth major inbound market was Australia with 137,242 arrivals, constituting 4.41 percent of the total.
Rounding up the top 10 visitor markets are Singapore (+1.96 percent) with 107,402 arrivals, Taiwan (+25.91 percent) with 104,233 arrivals, Canada (+8.32 percent) with 93,403 arrivals, United Kingdom (+12.30 percent) with 91,239 arrivals and Malaysia (+16.38 percent) with 90,947 arrivals.
High growth markets in July
For the month of July 2015, markets with substantial growth in inbound traffic included: India with 5,565 arrivals (+14.22 percent), Indonesia with 4,233 arrivals (+8.51 percent), Spain with 2,260 arrivals (+23.70 percent), New Zealand with 1,626 arrivals (+27.03 percent), Ireland with 1,492 arrivals (+30.65 percent), and Denmark with 1,399 arrivals (+13.46 percent).
By regional grouping, countries from East Asia posted double-digit gains, the highest of which is China with 59.30 percent, followed by Macau (+30.83 percent), Taiwan (+20.93 percent) and Hongkong (+11.47 percent).