Chinese daily names PH 'best tropical island destination'

·Kim Arveen Patria
El Nido, a protected area in Palawan's northernmost tip, is known for its breathtaking sites as well as its rich history. Tourists are drawn to its stunning beaches, vast mangrove forests and diverse marine life. Thousand-year-old fossils and burial sites also continue to spark visitors' interest. (Photo by Rolen Facundo)

China and the Philippines may be embroiled in a sea dispute, but that doesn’t seem to stop the Chinese from appreciating its neighboring archipelago.

The country was named the “Best Tropical Island Destination” by the Shanghai Morning Post January 7, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

The award was based on a consumer survey done by the Chinese New Daily and Shanghai, one of the biggest social media platforms in China.

Aside from the Philippines, also named popular picks for Chinese tourists were Switzerland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Canada, France, UK and South Korea.

The DFA said the award affirms the Philippines’ reputation as an “exciting and fun destination for the ever growing Chinese outbound travelers.”

As of October 2013, some 365,905 tourists from China arrived in the Philippines, up 70 percent from the same period in the previous year.

“The increase was achieved despite the weather-related catastrophes which affected travel to the Philippines last year,” the DFA statement noted.

Growth in Chinese tourist arrivals, it added, may be attributed to the aggressive “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign as well as expanded air access.

Direct flights are now being mounted from different cities in China to the country’s top destinations including Boracay, Clark, Laoag and Cebu.

DFA added that there are plans to open chartered flights to Legazpi, which will be anchored on Misibis Bay, as well as Puerto Princesa and Bohol.

This is not the first year the Philippines won an award from the Shanghai Morning Post. Last year, it was named the  “Most Romantic Destination.”

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