SIX million foreign tourists visited the Philippines in 2016, surpassing the 5.9-million target set by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the year and proving that the country is on its way to becoming a favored and emerging tourist destination.
“Last year, the DOT [was]targeting 5.9 million foreign tourist arrivals and we surpassed it. Now for 2017, we are targeting at 6.5 million,” Cesar Villanueva, officer-in-charge of the Tourism Promotions Board of the DOT, said on Thursday during a press conference with the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA).
PTAA outgoing President Maria Michelle Reyes-Victoria expressed optimism the higher target for this year will be reached.
“This year, we are very welcoming a lot of inbound tourists in the Philippines because, one, we are the host of Asean @50. So definitely, it will generate inbound tourist in the Philippines. Also we are hosting the Miss Universe” beauty pageant, she said.
According to the DOT, Korea remained the top visitor spending market in 2016 with estimated receipts of P5.06 billion for the month of September, followed by the US with an accumulated spending of about P1.61 billion.
Visitors from Japan spent an estimated P1.46 billion last year, while Canada claimed the fourth spot with receipts amounting to about P732.05 million. Completing the top five spending markets was China with an estimated expenditure of P654.97 million.
Meanwhile, the PTAA said that for the 24th Travel Tour Expo (TTE) this coming February 10 to 12, visitors will see a substantial increase in travel offers available to them from an expanded number of exhibitors participating.
Victoria said that the TTE, which is considered as the country’s biggest annual travel event, will feature more exotic destinations and a wider range of leisure activities.
“The TTE has placed a spotlight on the Philippines as a favored and emerging tourism destination and as a capable host of international events with extensive and significant impact on governance, economies and industries,” she added.