MANILA, Philippines - More than two million tourists visited Philippines during the first half of the year, the presidential palace reported citing figures from the Department of Tourism.
âThis is good news. From January to June 2012, foreign tourist arrivals have reached 2.14 million,â Deputy Presidential Spokesperson, Abigail Valte, said recently in an interview aired over government radio station dzRB.
The local tourism industry targets 4.6 million tourists by the end of this year. The government said that if the quota for 2012 is reached, this would mean additional 1.5 million tourists, higher than the record of the previous government.
In 2011, the 3.92 million tourists visited the Philippines. The Department of Tourism targets to increase the annual tourist arrivals in the country to 10 million by 2016.
The Philippine government had been working hard to improve its image abroad as a destination for tourists. It launched the tourism campaign âIt's More Fun in the Philippinesâ in January and released two commercials aired over international cable channels.
Valte said that aside from increasing number of tourist arrivals in the country, the country's tourism industry is sustaining good figures from its major markets.
âThe same markets where most of the country's visitors came from were maintained,â she said while pointing out that most of the travellers to the country came from South Korea, the United States, China and Taiwan.
According to the National Statistics Offices, tourists, both local and foreign, had contributed nearly a fifth or 19.6 per cent of the total P103.40 billion (Dh9.05 billion) revenue of Philippine-based tourism establishments.
Based on the results of the 2009 Survey of Tourism Establishments in the Philippines (STEP) carried out by the National Statistics Office (NSO), country had a total of 21,837 establishments engaged in tourism industries in 2009, which earned total revenue of P526.95 billion (Dh 46.2 billion).
Valte was quoted in reports as saying that tourism is vital in the country's economy because for every tourist arrival means more livelihood for Filipinos not only in hotels and resorts but in other industries as well.
As part of efforts to increase tourism, the country annually holds festivals that celebrate local culture. Currently, the Department of Tourism is holding the month-long 27th Kadayawan Festival in Davao City. Local tourism officials said they expect some 70,000 foreign and local tourist to visit during the event.