By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
The Philippine tourism industry has sustained its growth as inbound visitor count increased steadily since January, surpassing the six million mark by the end of September, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced Friday.
According to the latest data released by the DOT, the Philippines received a total of 6,161,503 visitors from January to September, indicating a 14.37 percent increase from the 5,387,458 arrivals recorded in the same period last year.
“The figures look very promising, and we are glad that more tourists are visiting us in light of the accolades received by the Philippines and our destinations throughout the year,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.
The department chalked up 606,553 visitors in September, which is still widely considered as a lean month in the Philippines in terms of tourism.
The figure poses a growth of 17.09 percent, compared to the 518,041 visitor count for September 2018.
Data from the DOT monthly report for September also showed a positive year-on-year arrival growth for eight of the top 10 visitor markets for the Philippines.
For the first nine months, South Korea still topped the list with a total of 1,450,792 arrivals, followed by China, with 1,359,817. The United States claimed the third spot with 792,619 visitor arrivals for the nine months.
Meanwhile, Japan, which overtook the US last month based on market share, ranked fourth in the list with 518,211 arrivals, followed by Taiwan, with 252,578.
2019 has proven to be a good year for Philippine tourism as the country has also received numerous recognition on its sustainable tourism efforts.
Last month, it ranked eighth among the 20 Most Favorite Countries in the World of the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, besting popular destinations, such as Japan and Italy, with a 90.63 score among the magazine’s 600,000 readers.
The Philippines was also hailed as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination by the prestigious 2019 World Travel Awards (WTA) in its Asia and Oceania gala held in Phu Quoc, Vietnam last October.
Subsequently, the DOT was named Asia’s Leading Tourism Board by the WTA in the same event for the significant increase in tourist arrivals for the Philippines in 2018.
The Japan Tourism Awards also presented the DOT with its Excellent Partner Award for the department’s crucial role in the closure and successful rehabilitation of the tourist-favorite Boracay Island.
“While these awards prove prudence in our efforts to bolster Philippine tourism, ultimately, what keeps us doing what we do in the DOT is seeing more of our countrymen revel in the positive impacts of genuine sustainable tourism,” Romulo-Puyat said. (PNA)