More than 1.5 million foreign tourists have already visited the country in the first quarter of 2013 alone, the Department of Tourism said.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez noted the 1,649,458 visitors from all over the world represent a 10.12 percent increase in tourist arrivals compared to the same period last year.
Jimenez stressed foreign visitor arrival helped his department to achieve 30 percent of their target this year, with the largest volume of 436,079 tourists coming in last January.
“This growth is an affirmation of our various marketing and destination development activities, strengthened by partnerships with the various stakeholders,” Jimenez said in a statement.
“While the upsurge may primarily be attributed to the summer season, it is also a clear indication that the nation has galvanized its reputation as an attractive destination,” he added.
The tourism department said most of tourists came from South Korea, which contributed the largest arrivals of 406,595 visitors.
In its report, DoT said there had been 246,011 Americans and 148,950 Japanese tourists who came to visit the Philippines from January to April.
Despite continuing territorial disputes with Chinese government, China remains to be the fourth biggest market for local tourism with 132,307 Chinese arriving in the country in the first quarter.
They are followed by
Australia - 72,015 visitors
Taiwan - 68,654 visitors
Singapore - 55,096 visitors
Canada - 50,352 visitors
Hong Kong - 45,734 visitors
United Kingdom - 43,055 visitors
Malaysia - 35,069 visitors
Germany - 28,799 visitors
Jimenez noted that double-digit gains in other source markets like Russia, India, and France prove the “sustainable increase” in tourists arrival since 2012.
“This building enthusiasm for the Philippines, aided by our government’s good governance agenda, gives us the confidence to achieve our target of 10 million tourist arrivals by 2016,” Jimenez said.
The cabinet member promised to reach out other industries, government agencies, and civil society to continue investing in sustainable projects and partnerships to secure continued growth in Philippine tourism.
The Philippines is to upgrade a navy base facing disputed South China Sea waters to serve the extra ships being acquired to protect its territory, the military said Thursday. Navy spokesman Lieutenant-Commander Gregory Fabic said the military would build a 500-million-peso ($11.2 million) port at Ulugan Bay, the Philippine military base nearest to the Spratly Islands. President Benigno Aquino is set to visit the base on May 20 to launch the upgrading, Fabic added. In recent years, the …