The Philippines generated P149 billion in tourism receipts in the first 11 months from 2.46 million tourists who visited the country.
Data showed the international visitor arrivals exceeded the 1.7 million target set by the Department of Tourism for 2022.
“We are optimistic that we will reach 2.5 million by end of the year. If this happens, then we would have about 30 percent of our pre-pandemic arrivals. A far cry from the 164,000 international visitors that we received in 2021,” Tourism Secretary Kristina Frasco said in a yearend briefing Monday.
Frasco said the Philippines recorded significant improvements in visitor arrivals from the country’s top ten source markets. The US continued to lead the country’s source of international visitors with 461,967, followed by South Korea with 387,780 arrivals.
Australia placed third with 122,971 arrivals; Canada, 112,015; United Kingdom, 93,440; Japan 91,557; Singapore, 50,964; India, 49,330; Malaysia, 44,357; and Vietnam, 37,028.
“If these numbers are any indication, it just signifies that the country is back in business. With the vision and leadership of President Marcos for the tourism industry, we have laid out a seven-point agenda to carry out in the next few years that will address the issues and concerns of the tourism industry,” Frasco said.
The 7-point agenda pushed by the department involve improving tourism; establishment of a cohesive and comprehensive digitalization and connectivity; Enhancement of overall tourist experience; equalization of tourism product development and promotion; diversification of portfolio through multidimensional tourism; maximization of domestic tourism; strengthening tourism governance through close collaboration with LGUs, the national stakeholders and stakeholders.
Among the highlights of the DOT’s accomplishments in 2022 included partnerships with various government agencies to improve tourism experience such as the collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Transportation for improved connectivity of tourism destinations.
Frasco said the DOT was finalizing a memorandum of agreement with the DOTr to start the enhancement of identified pilot areas—NAIA Terminal 2, Davao International Airport and Cebu City Pier. Tourist assistance desk will also be established in these gateways to cater to immediate concerns of travelers.
Frasco also underscored the removal of the One Health Pass and its conversion into the E-Arrival and E- Travel Pass.
“We are also working with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Immigration and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency to explore the possibility of converting to e-Visa applications and engaging an outsourced visa facilitation service provider for the Chinese and Indian markets. A TWG is currently being organized to study the group visa system and guidelines for Indian nationals to support the growth of MICE travelers,” Frasco said.