In the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 2013 Tourism Barometer, released on January 21, 2013, the Philippines ranked fourth in the list of countries where international tourism receipts increased the most in 2013. International tourism receipts in the country increased by 19.6% in 2013 from a year ago. Others in the top 10 were Thailand (27.5%), Japan (24.6%), Hong Kong (20.6%), Russia (15.3%), Greece (14.8%), United Kingdom (14.7%), Turkey (12%), India (12%), and Taiwan (12%). The Philippines was second highest among emerging markets in outbound tourism expenditures which grew 18% in 2013, following Turkey (24%). Other emerging markets with the highest outbound travel spending were Qatar (18%), Kuwait (15%), Indonesia (15%), Ukraine (15%), and Brazil (14%). The Philippines outpaced the growth of tourism spending in France, United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. 2013 was an excellent year for international tourism, the UNWTO said. International tourist arrivals reached a record 1.1 billion in 2013. Asia Pacific had 248 million in 2013, bolstered by visitors to sub-region Southeast Asia, including the Philippines. The leading regional destination last year was Europe which received 563 million foreign visitors. International tourism is expected to increase by 5% this year, the UNWTO projected, adding that regional prospects for 2014 are strongest for Asia Pacific, with 5-6% and Africa with 4.6%. UNWTO reports tourism facts and figures annually by region and country, with long-term outlooks, projected changes, and review of statistics and figures. Its 2013 edition cited global trends and statistics including one in 11 jobs is in tourism, tourism accounts for 9% of Gross Domestic Product, and tourism is responsible for 6% of world’s exports. We congratulate the Department of Tourism headed by Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. and United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, for their partnership in supporting and encouraging more activities that would sustain the growth of the tourism industry for the Filipino people in our Republic of the Philippines and worldwide. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!