Tourist arrivals from January to March jumped by 15.12 percent compared to the same period last year as more visitors are continuously attracted to the country’s “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said on Thursday.
The total visitor count in the first quarter of the year rose to 1.602 million from the 1.391 million in the same three months a year ago.
For the month of March alone, visitors increased by 11.86 percent to 510,270 from 456,163 in March 2015.
The January to March visitor receipts went up by 15 percent to P67.74 billion compared to P58.96 billion in 2015.
In March, total visitor spending also rose by 6.85 percent to P18.31 billion from the P17.13 billion in the same month last year.
The DOT said Korea remains the top source of tourists. Korean tourists took up 23.94 percent or 383,544 of the total arrivals from January to March 2016. They are also a consistent top spending market with receipts accounting to P4.09 billion from January to March.
The other big tourism markets in the first quarter were the United States (231,233 visitors or 14.43 percent share of total); China (184,512 or 11.52 percent); Japan (143,624 or 8.96 percent); Australia (67,265 or 4.20 percent); and Canada (53,301 or 3.33 percent).
They were followed by Taiwan (52,102 visitors or 3.25 percent share); United Kingdom (49,097 or 3.06 percent); Singapore (44,441 or 2.77 percent); Malaysia (36,601 or 2.28 percent); Hong Kong (32,749 or 2.04 percent); and Germany (28,621 or 1.79 percent).
The DOT said there are other countries that have shown signs of increased tourism interest in the Philippines which include India with 6,943 arrivals or 8.23 percent growth from a year ago, and France with 5,915 arrivals or 24.95 percent growth.
Cruise tourism is one of the fastest growing tourism segments for March 2016, with 2,946 visitors reported at the port of Manila, and 7,256 visitors at the ports of Palawan (El Nido and Puerto Princesa).
Kristyn Nika M. Lazo