Tourist arrivals for 2011 soar to 4 million

By Nikka Garriga

MANILA CITY, METRO MANILA—Some 3.9 million foreign tourists visited the country in the past year, breaking previous tourism records.

The figure showed an increase of 11.28 percent from 2010’s figure set at 3.52 million and it also surpassed the initial target of 3.7 million for foreign arrivals, according to the Department of Tourism (DoT).

Most of the tourists arrived in November and December, with 337,021 and 394,567 arrivals, respectively.

Majority or at least 46 percent of the visitors are from East Asian countries.

Korea had the strongest single market with a share of 925,204 arrivals, followed by Japan, 375,496 visitors; China, 243,137 visitors; and Taiwan, 181,738 visitors. Tourists from Singapore and Malaysia reached 331,672 visitors.

The United States accounted for 16 percent of all tourist traffic with a total of 624,527 visitors.

Northern and Western Europe posted near-identical numbers after modest growth with 164,205 and 157,265 arrivals, respectively.

Of the figure, the returning overseas Filipinos numbered at 207,152 arrivals.

The record-breaking figures prompted DoT to raise its target for this year to 4.2 million with the campaign “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” said DoT secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr.

“With the overwhelming response to our new brand campaign launched last month, we know that we have broken ground on crowdsourcing. The people’s campaign will help bring more numbers,” said the official.

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