Foreign tourists in PH reach 2.65M in 2022

INTERNATIONAL tourist arrivals in the Philippines soared to 2.65 million in 2022, breaching the 1.7 million target, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced Tuesday.

The visitor count as of Dec. 31, 2022 translates to P208.96 billion or US$3.68 billion in tourism revenue, a 2,465.75 percent increase from the same period last year.

The holiday season had delivered further gains for the Philippine tourism industry, DOT said.

The new record has nearly one million more visitors entering the country than the year-end target.

This was based on the monitoring conducted by the DOT from the time the country reopened its borders for all types of travelers in February until Dec. 31, 2022, when Filipinos abroad were expected to flock back to the country for the annual Christmas and New Year celebrations as well as foreign tourists who chose the Philippines as their holiday destination.

Of the 2.65 million international visitor arrivals last year, 628,445 were returning Filipinos while the bulk or 2.02 million tourists were foreigners from the country’s top tourist markets: the United States (505,089), South Korea (428,014), Australia (137,974), Canada (121,413), the United Kingdom (101,034), Japan (99,557), Singapore (53,448), India (51,542), Malaysia (46,805), and China (39,627).

In her New Year’s Eve message, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco expressed her elation on the achievements made by the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. just six months after assuming office.

She said this clearly showed the gains of the Marcos administration’s support for tourism and the hard work of the entire tourism industry toward recovery amid the setbacks from the unprecedented crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

She noted that the efforts made by the department, together with its partners, were part of the current administration’s vision for it to be a catalyst for the Philippines’ economic resurgence not only in terms of job opportunities but investments as well.

“Therefore, we welcome 2023 with gratitude and excitement for Philippine tourism to bounce back stronger than ever. We shall welcome with warmth and that distinct Filipino smile visitors from all over the world as they visit our award-winning beaches, experience the richness of our culture, and enjoy our world-renowned Filipino brand of service excellence,” she said.

Meanwhile, the previous year has generated an estimated 5.23 million tourism-related jobs. There were also 11,989 DOT-accredited tourism enterprises as of Dec. 29, 2022. A total of 25,770 tourism stakeholders have also been trained.

Last year, Frasco revealed to the media that the DOT is targeting 4.8 million international visitors in 2023 as its baseline, but she remains hopeful that the department will again surpass its targets just like the achievements done in 2022.

“We look forward to the continued convergence and collaboration of our tourism stakeholders—travelers, tourism players, national agencies, local government units and host communities—in propelling our industry to the heights of becoming a tourism powerhouse in Asia,” Frasco said. (with PR)