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4.8 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines in 2014

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More foreign tourists visited the Philippines in 2014 but their number was still below the government’s 5 million foreign arrivals target for the year.

Data released by the Department of Tourism show that inbound visitors reached 4.833 million in 2014 or 3.25 percent higher than 4.681 million arrivals in 2013.  This year, the government expects 6 million arrivals and in 2016, 10 million.

The month of December delivered the most number of arrivals at 487,654 or 7.73 percent more than in the same period in 2013.  

The DOT said total earnings last year from inbound tourism amounted to US$4.84 billion, 10 percent higher than the previous year’s earnings of US$4.4 billion.  In peso value, inbound revenues totalled PhP214.88 billion or 15 percent more compared to PhP186.15 billion in 2013.  The month of December also recorded the highest visitor receipts at US$597.76 million.

Visitors from South Korea chipped in the biggest contribution with PhP61.02 billion, accounting for 33 percent share of inbound receipts.  The US market followed with PhP41.43 billion constituting a 22 percent share; Australia (PhP13.94 billion); and Japan (PhP10.68 billion). Canadian visitors spent PhP8.48 billion, overtaking China which was the fifth biggest revenue source in 2013.

Average individual daily expenditure (ADE) of international visitors was recorded at US$103.55 in 2014, up by 2.4 percent from previous year ADE of US$ 101.12.  In peso terms, ADE grew 7.11 percent from PhP4,292.16 in 2013 to PhP4,597.12 last year.  

Visitors from the Asian region constituted the biggest market for the Philippines during the year with 2.83 million for a share of 59 percent of total arrivals.  Americas followed with 875,200 for a market share of 18 percent; Europe at 10 percent, Australasia/Pacific (six percent) and overseas Filipinos (four percent).

Arrivals from South Korea reached 1.175 million or 24.32 percent of total inbound traffic, higher by 0.83 percent from 1.166 million in 2013.  The US market remained the second largest source with 722,750 arrivals for a 14.95-percent market share. This increased 7.14 percent from 2013.

Japan ranked third with 463,744 visitors, constituting 9.59 percent of the total visitor volume. This market posted an increase of 6.93 percent versus its year-ago arrivals of 433,705.  Arrivals from China declined 7.37 percent from 426,352 in 2013 to 394,951 in 2014.

Australia had a 4.65 percent market share or 224, 784 arrivals. This market expanded 5.52 percent from its volume of 213,023 a year ago.  Singapore visitors reached 179,099; Canada with 143,899 arrivals; Taiwan with 142,973 arrivals; Malaysia with 139,245 arrivals; United Kingdom with 133,665 arrivals; Hong Kong with 114,100 arrivals; and Germany with 72,801 arrivals.  Malaysian tourists recorded the highest growth of 27.24 percent from its previous year record

“We met a lot of problems in 2014 but we ended the year with growth. That is very modest, but the income we got that year is still on target,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said.

Asked about the sector’s targets for 2015, Secretary Jimenez said the DOT is focusing on raising tourism revenues.  “We are approaching the US$6-billion mark. In 2010, we started from US$3 billion. If we are able to double the business, we are OK,” he said.

As part of its Visit the Philippines 2015 campaign, the DOT intends to be more site-specific, highlighting particular destinations in its advertisements.  “Now we are advertising Davao, Cebu, Bohol. We are getting people to be familiar with more places in the Philippines,” he said.