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Feb tourist arrivals hit 4-year high

This year’s strong tourism start continued through February, breaking the month’s record of visitor arrivals since 2013, according to official figures released by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

A total of 579,178 visitors were recorded in February, an increase of 27.81 percent over the past four years, and 5.36 percent higher than the same period last year, according to DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo Teo.

Visitors from South Korea topped all other markets in February, with 150,598 tourists representing a 26 percent share of total inbound traffic in the Philippines, and a 9.51 percent increase in Korean arrivals from the same period last year.

“We have maintained and even increased figures from South Korea, and we expect to see further growth as Korean tourists perceive our country as a distinctive global destination built on unique experiences and rich natural beauty,” said Teo.

Completing the top five markets for the period are the US with 137,598 (23.76 percent); China with 78,251 (13.51 percent); Japan with 53,957 (9.32 percent); and Taiwan with 20,472 (3.53 percent).

The DOT credited ramped up promotional efforts for the increased tourist arrivals, as other markets also showed an increase in the second month of the year.

Australian arrivals rose by 9.32 percent (20,157), Canadian arrivals by 21.39 percent (19,016), while tourists from the UK by 15.65 percent (15,226).

Among the top 12 markets, Germany registered the highest per capital expenditure for February 2017. On average, a German visitor spent PhP60,260.45 while in the country.

UK tourists followed with per capita spending of PhP47,533.15, tailed by Canadians with PhP43,761. 75, Koreans with PhP38,714.46, and the French with PhP37,354.40.

Also on a positive note, the Philippines has welcomed a total of 8,176 cruise passengers through various ports in the country.

Manila remained the country’s top cruise destination with recorded arrivals of 2,785 passengers, followed by Boracay with 1,145, Bohol with 692 passengers, and Pangasinan with 640 passengers.

“These numbers show that cruise tourism is one of the fastest growing segments in the Philippine tourism. This certainly gives us a positive outlook for the country’s cruise tourism market for this year,” said Teo.

The DOT’s combined January and February figures represent 17.3 percent of the tourism sector’s target of seven million arrivals in 2017.