MANILA, Philippines - The tourism industry has sustained its growth momentum over the past five-and-a-half years with early 2016 arrivals posting a 13 percent increase, the first time it breached the 500, 000 mark for the first month of the year.
International tourist arrivals in January rose to 542, 258 from 479, 149 in the same period last year and is expected to continue for the rest of 2016 as the Department of Tourism (DOT) gears up for the “Visit the Philippines Again 2016” marketing campaign.
“The growth is stimulated by the aggressive campaign since the ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines, ’ as well as the receptiveness of markets to our 2016 campaign, ” DOT Assistant Secretary Rolando Canizal said.
Although total revenues for the month slightly decreased 2.4 percent to P21.94 billion from P22.48 billion in the same period last year, DOT said the minimal difference confirms a wide range of expenditures from different markets.
East Asia was the main source of arrivals in January with 261, 919 visitors or 48.3 percent of total arrivals.
North America accounted for 19.5 percent of the market with 105, 899 while the ASEAN region comprised 6.86 percent, contributing 37, 187 arrivals. Australia and the Pacific shared 5.6 percent and Northern Europe registered 4.72 percent.
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By specific country, Korea remained the top contributor of international tourists for January with 147, 165 arrivals or a 27.14 percent share in total inbound traffic.
The US supplied the second biggest inbound arrival with 84, 506 visitors while the Chinese market also grew and ranked third with a total of 48, 708 visitors. Meanwhile, Japan provided 41, 691 arrivals and Australia recorded 25, 274.
Other top visitors include Canada with 21, 108, Taiwan with 15, 523, United Kingdom with 15, 072, Singapore with 13, 404 and Malaysia with 11, 068.
Moreover, Korea provided P6.21 billion in receipts followed by US with P4.26 billion. Japan placed third with P1.64 billion while Canada and Australia contributed P1.18 billion and P1.13 billion, respectively.
Spending patterns for January showed average daily expenditure estimated at P4, 904.10 while average length of stay registered stood at nights.
The tourism industry ended 2015 with another milestone as it breached the five million mark with a total 5.3 million foreign arrivals and booked P228 billion in receipts. Tourism revenues have surged more than 100 percent from P113 billion in 2010.
DOT attributes the robust performance of the industry to the branding and promotional activities in key and emerging markets and the country’s hosting of major international events such as the APEC Summit and the visit of Pope Francis, among others.
For 2016, DOT is looking at almost 10 percent increase in foreign receipts to over P250 billion and 13 percent rise in arrivals to reach six million tourists on the back of better air access and added accommodation facilities.
Foreign arrivals posted a compounded annual growth rate of 8.77 percent since 2010, higher than the 7.76 percent recorded from 2001 to 2010.
“The past five years have been a story of how the DOT, together with its attached agencies, has achieved an enhanced orientation as the country’s primary marketing and selling unit, ” DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez said.
Direct and indirect tourism employment in 2015 was estimated at five million with a share of 12.7 percent to national employment and represented five percent growth from 2014.
It contributes eight percent to the country’s total gross domestic product and is the third largest dollar earning industry of the Philippines next to the semiconductor and BPO (business process outsourcing) industries. Its contribution is seen to reach 10 to 12 percent in the next three to five years.