The Philippines has its sights set on 7.7 million international visitor arrivals during 2024, says the country’s Department of Tourism (DOT), just under its pre pandemic record.
Faster than average
Having exceeded its 2023 goal of welcoming 4.8 million visitors by over 200,000, the Southeast Asian archipelago is now looking to build on a post-Covid-19 recovery rate that is faster than its neighbours.
The average post-Covid tourism arrivals recovery rate for the Asia-Pacific region has been calculated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization World Tourism Barometer at 62% for the first three quarters of 2023. The Philippines Department of Tourism says their international tourist arrivals are more than 3% up on that, at 65.5% for the same period.
Other figures released show the sector also generated 5.35 million jobs in 2022, or “11 for every 100 Filipinos”, according to the Philippine News Agency.
Announcing new targets and policy goals, the country’s Department of Tourism also celebrated this year’s achievements, particularly in the light of the island nation’s relatively late post-Covid-19 re-opening, calling the milestones as “fruits of the concerted efforts of tourism stakeholders”, as well as attributing these achievements to the “leadership of our President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr“ and “his vision for transformation.”
Sustainability and resilience
Not just growth, but growing sustainability and resilience in the tourism sector are key priorities for Christina Garcia Frasco, who leads the Department for Transport. The strategy would include diversifying the tourist offer and footprint, and enhancing security and services, while protecting local communities and the environment.
Under forward plans, Garcia Frasco laid out projects including 18 future “tourist rest areas” across the country, an expansion in cruise tour routes and destinations, as well as the country’s popular Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) tours.
To promote tourist safety and security (key measures in the worldwide tourism rankings), emergency centres for tourists and emergency risk management planning would be enhanced, the official added. Terrain in the Philippines is mountainous and prone to earthquakes and eruptions from around 20 active volcanoes. The islands are frequently hammered by typhoons and other storms and flooding and landslides can be issues.
The profile and quality of infrastructure and services will also see an uplift if plans go ahead to attract investment in improving hotels, marine transportation, and the creation of special tourism zoning.
Who are the arrivals?
The Philippines’ primary tourist market, with 1,341,029 arrivals in 2023, is South Korea. The United States delivers the second highest number of international arrivals (836,694), trailed by Japan (285,655), China (252,171) and Australia (238,487) in the top five.