The Philippines welcomed a total of 4,681,307 foreign visitors in 2013, surpassing the 4,272,811 arrivals recorded in 2012 by 9.56 percent. This performance marked a new milestone for the tourism industry as visitor arrivals demonstrated sustained growth despite the challenges of the previous year.
The highest growth rates during the year were recorded in February (15.8 percent), June (14.0 percent), and August (13.0 percent). Visitor count reached an all time high of more than 400,000 during the months of January, February, March, July, and December.
“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,” Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. said.
Koreans remain the biggest source market with a 24.9 percent share in the total inbound visitors or equal to 1.17 million arrivals. It posted a 13 percent growth rate by yearend. The successful conclusion of air services agreement in this market has contributed to an increase in flight frequencies in the country’s key international gateways.
Following at second place is the United States of America (USA) with 674,564 arrivals for a share of 14.4 percent. Other top source markets include Japan with 433,705 arrivals; China with 426,352 arrivals; 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; United Kingdom with 122,759 arrivals; Malaysia with 109,437 arrivals; and Germany with 70,949 arrivals.
The share of Chinese visitors in the total inbound expanded from 5.9 percent in 2012 to 9.1 percent in 2013. The Chinese tourist market bounced back with the highest yearend growth rate of 69.9 percent or 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 growth.
The opening of new regular and chartered air services and increase in cruise itineraries gave support to the aggressive marketing activities held in key cities of China. Japanese visitors, on the other hand, continued to rise steadily with 433,705 arrivals or a 5.1 percent growth from the previous year.
The implementation of new programs and new products targeted at new and niche markets has helped revitalize growth in this market.
By regional grouping, East Asia contributed the biggest arrivals for a share of 49.1 percent with 2,298,597. The region posted a double-digit gain of 12.73 percent vis-à-vis its previous year’s contribution of 2,038,987.
The ASEAN region maintained its position as the third largest contributor of arrivals, accounting for 9.02 percent of the overall traffic base.
Total revenues gained from inbound visitors for the year was up by 15.1 percent and estimated to be at P186.15 billion. Overall average length of stay of visitors remained at 9.6 nights. Visitors from the U.S. had the longest stay at 13.4 nights.
“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,” the tourism chief said.
Jimenez added, “Our main cities will also play host to a great number of international conferences and events, which include the 5th World Ecotourism Conference in Cebu this February and WEF East Asia Summit in May. More importantly, this year exerts extra pressure on our government, industry, and civil society to prepare for Visit the Philippines Year (VPY) 2015, which will feature a calendar of events and an exciting mix of activities inviting all to come and partake of the more fun promise in the Philippines.” PNA