1.27-M tourists visited PH in Q1, up 11%
MANILA, Philippines - South Koreans still dominated the 1.27 million tourists that visited the Philippines in the first 3 months of 2013.
Koreans accounted for 25.83% of the total tourist arrivals, which improved by 11% compared to a year ago, data from the Tourism Department showed.
The Philippines is aiming to hit 5.5 million tourists this 2013. The January-to-March numbers contributed 23% to the full year goal.
The following were the Philippines' top tourist markets in the first quarter:
- South Korea - 25.83%
- United States - 14.63%
- Japan - 8.99%
- China - 7.73%
- Taiwan - 4.24%
- Australia - 4.22%
- Singapore - 3.27%
- Canada - 3.03%
- Hong Kong - 2.83%
- United Kingdom - 2.55%
- Malaysia - 2.14%
- Germany - 1.77%
“We are on track of our target of 5.5 million foreign tourists arrival for 2013,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said, highlighting the government's tourism-related reforms and milestones.
These include the lifting of the significant safety concerns by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The safety audit of the United Nations body may eventually lead to the lifting of restrictions on Philippine carriers flying to the United States and Europe, two key tourism markets.
“The rationalization of the common carriers tax (RA 10376), which was signed into law by President Aquino earlier this month, is also seen to aid in improving and enhancing the country’s competitiveness in the international travel arena,” he said.
The Philippines is also bidding out airport expansion projects at island or provincial destinations to improve access to tourism sites, some of which have been voted by travelers as among the world's best.
Bulk of the passenger traffic going into the Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,100 islands, still goes through the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which has been voted as one of the world's worst.
By the end of the Aquino administration in 2016, the number of tourists arrival is expected to hit 10 million.
At the Philippine Yearend Economic Briefing in February, Jimenez said that this will allow the sector to increase its share to 11% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the current level of 7%. - Rappler.com