Tourism arrivals reach milestone in '07

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via Good News Pilipinas – The number of tourists visiting the Philippines breached the three-million mark in 2007, with spending by foreign tourists reaching almost P5 billion for various services and products.

In 2005, arrivals hit 2.62 million and climbed to 2.84 million in 2006. Last year, tourist arrivals hit 3.09 million, the highest in the country’s history.

“The year 2007 was a year of breakthroughs for the tourism industry in the Philippines. For the first time ever, foreign arrivals in the country breached the three-millionth mark in 2007,” according to the Department of Tourism

Tourist expenditures reached $4.885 billion in 2007, surpassing the $3.782-billion target.

The largest group of foreigners coming to the Philippines are Koreans with 653,310 arrivals or 21.1 percent. This was followed by the Americans with 578,983 or 18.7 percent; the Japanese with 395,012 or 12.8 percent; the Chinese with 157,601 or 5.1 percent; and Australians with 112,466 or 3.6 percent.

The Department of Tourism’s ultimate goal is to attract not only more tourists, but also higher-value visitors who stay longer and spend more.

As part of this strategy, the Tourism department has been pushing projects to maximize the value of the travel sector by improving existing infrastructure and resources catering to tourists.

“We have to make sure that they can reach that destination and when they are there, they can be accommodated. This means improving or developing facilities,” the DOT said.

It was also observed that tourists come to the country for varied reasons. Besides beachgoers, golfers, divers and honeymooners, tourists are also coming to the country for shopping, medical tourism and even learning English.

Upgrading of tourist facilities

Currently, several domestic and foreign investors are working with the Tourism department on projects in key tourist destinations such as Cebu, Boracay, Negros Occidental, Bicol and Palawan.

Provincial airports, such as those in Kalibo, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa and Bacolod are being upgraded to receive international flights. Projects are also underway to improve and develop more tourism destinations such as Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Bohol and Bicol.

For 2008, the Tourism department is targeting $5 to $8 billion in tourist spending, or more than the 2010 target of $5 billion.

– Good News Pilipinas

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