4.27-M tourists in PH in 2012: Record high but below goal

Rappler.com
The year 2012 marks the first time the Philippines saw its tourist arrivals go beyond the 4-million mark. Despite hitting an all-time high, however, the total number of tourists missed the year's 4.6 million goal

FAVORITE DESTINATION. Sun, sand and Filipinos make Boracay one of the world's best

MANILA, Philippines – The year 2012 marks the first time the Philippines saw its tourist arrivals go beyond the 4-million mark. Despite hitting an all-time high, however, the total number of tourists missed the year’s 4.6 million goal.

A total of 4,272,811 foreign tourists visited the Philippines in 2012, according to Department of Tourism’s statement on Wednesday, January 23. This reflected a 9.07% increase from the 3,917,454 visitors in 2011.

The Aquino government has increased its end-2016 target to 10 million tourists a year from the previous 6 million as part of efforts to reduce the gap between how many the the country gets now compared to the the tourism favorites in Asia, including neighbors Vietnam and Thailand.

The following were the key tourist markets during the year:

  • South Korea – 1,031,155 visitors, or 24.13% of total; up 11.45%
  • United States – 625,626, or 15.27% share
  • Japan – 412,474, or 9.65% 
  • China – 250,883, 5.87%
  • Taiwan – 216,511, 5.07%
  • Australia – 191,150, 4.47%
  • Singapore – 148,215, 3.47%
  • Canada – 123,699, 2.90%
  • Hong Kong – 118,666, 2.78% 
  • Malaysia – 114,513, 2.68%
  • United Kingdom – 113,282, 2.65%
  • Germany – 67,023, 1.57%
  • Russia – est. 28,270

Overseas Filipinos visiting home reached 215,943, contributing 5.05% of total tourist traffic, and reflecting a steady growth rate of 4.24%.

Passengers form a long line in front of airlines check in counters at the terminal building of Manila international airport on June 16, 2008. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE

Through a more relaxed regulatory restrictions on foreign airlines and still-to-be completed airport upgrades in various tourism spots in the country, the Aquino government hopes to increase tourism arrivals to 6 million a year starting 2016.

The Aquino government targets to increase tourism receipts to complement existing dollar earners, like remittances from Filipinos working abroad and product exports.

Missed target

“Crossing the 4-million mark is a feat in itself and puts us well on track to achieve our ultimate goal of 10 million visitor arrivals by 2016,” Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez said in the statement.

Nonetheless, hitting only 93.8% of the 4,556,582 visitor arrival goal for 2012 were attributed to “economic and political pressures from traditional markets such as US, Europe, and China.”

“Despite a few bumps in the road, all key source markets still registered positive growth for the year,” Jimenez stressed.

The DOT hopes to cross the 5-million milestone in 2013. – Rappler.com

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