MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday, July 19, announced that foreign visitor arrivals reached an all-time high of 3.7 million for the first half of 2018.
In a statement, the DOT said tourist arrivals from January to June this year rose by 10.4%, compared to the 3.3 million recorded in the same period in 2017.
"The DOT's continuous marketing promotions, aggressive actions to create new air routes and develop new tourism products, travel facilitation, and confidence in tourism investments drummed up the industry and resulted [in] this stellar performance," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said.
For the month of June, 528,747 tourists arrived in the Philippines, an 11.35% increase from the same month last year.
Despite the closure of world-famous destination Boracay, tourism officials are confident that the year-end target of 7.5 million will be achieved. (IN NUMBERS: Foreign visitors up by 10% despite Boracay closure)
"We are actually on track. We are halfway into the year and we are exactly halfway of our National Tourism Development Plan target arrivals," Puyat said.
The Philippine government earlier said it is thinking of shortening the visa on arrival process for Chinese travelers as visitor arrivals continue to grow.
DOT Spokesperson Bong Bengzon also said the government hopes to attract more tourists from other countries such as India, France, Spain, and Russia, as well as from countries in the Middle East. – Rappler.com