1.1M foreign tourists visit PH since February

Some 1.1 million foreign tourists have visited the Philippines since it reopened its doors to visitors from overseas following the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) said the latest figure as of August 7 surpassed the full-year arrivals in 2021 when borders were still closed to tourists and only 163,879 foreigners entered the country.

The DOT has promised an enhanced “overall experience” for travelers by promoting “digitalization” and working with relevant offices to further improve tourism infrastructure and to sustain the momentum of foreign visitors’ arrivals..

The 12.7% contribution of tourism to the country’s gross national product (GNP) before the pandemic fell to 5.1%  in 2020 and inched up a bit to 5.2% in 2921.

Addressing a tourism summit in Cebu recently, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said the DOT projects the sector would “recoup its losses and revert to pre-pandemic level in the next three years.”

Frasco said DOT is now developing new regional tourism circuits that would highlight nature-based tourism including meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE); food and gastronomy; heritage and culture; farm and agri-tourism; health and wellness; and arts, among others.

“All these tourism dimensions will get an equal promotion, attention, and support as we expand ourselves from the traditional portfolio and explore multidimensional tourism,” Frasco said.

She also urged tourism stakeholders including local government officials, and entrepreneurs who participated in the Cebu summit, to do their share and help “build a stronger bridge of collaboration” to uplift the tourism industry.

“All of you play a vital role in our aspirations for recovery and progress. Your success, our success, means more jobs for our people, a better economy, a more productive workforce, and sparking our recovery not only in our tourism industry here in Cebu but for the entirety of our country’s economy,” she told participants in the event organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“I invite everyone to join the efforts of the Department of Tourism and the national government in building a stronger bridge of collaboration to maximize all our efforts to ensure we would be able to exceed our previous standing on the global stage,” Frasco stressed.