With an increase of 11.67% from the year prior’s record of 4.8 million tourist visits, the Philippines’ tourist record rose to 5.26 million in 2015.
|(L-R) DOT ASec. Arturo Boncato; Governor Edgar Chatto, Province of Bohol; Congressman Josef Franz Alvarez, Province of Palawan|
In the same year, the country’s tourism income which was posted to be at $4.84 billion on 2014 has grown to become $5 billion the year after.
As per record, the Philippines’ top sources of visits came from the North-Eastern region of Asia, namely Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau which cumulatively comprised the almost 50% of the overall population of tourists (49.8%).
Quoting Arturo P. Boncato, Assistant Secretary of the Tourism Department during the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), “Korea remains the top market with 24.99% share in total inbound traffic.”
Confident in the coming growth of tourism in the country, this year’s target number of tourists visiting the Philippines is expected to rise to as much as 6 million unique individuals.
Mr. Boncato added, “Our competitiveness ranking (in the 2015 Global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum) improved because they’ve seen the Philippines to be very open: working on obstacles to people mobility and visa requirements have been relaxed.”
On the other hand, quoting the Philippine President, Benigno S.C. Aquino III while speaking at the recently held forum at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay, “[While] Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam lead the pack (in tourism), the rest — the Philippines, included — are catching up.”
With the purpose of bolstering tourism in the Philippines, the country’s focus last year was aimed at constructing and upgrading of airport in Puerto Princesa which was expected to expand on its former 350,000 carrying capacity to up to 2 million. It is slated to be finished sometime in 2018.
In other places like Bohol, it’s Panglao International Airport is said to be completed by 2017 which could cover to as much as 1.7 million people when finished.
Other airports which are currently going through a makeover, upgrade, or rebuilt includes the Davao Airport, Iloilo Airport, and Bacolod-Silay Airport, and plenty others more not mentioned.
Not just solely focused on airports and expanding on its capacity, other means to improve on tourism were also taken steps to such as the improvement on roads which leads to travel destinations and the application of the so-called “pocket open skies policy” which tries to liberalize the country’s airports but with the sole exception of the heavily congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.