29 °C Manila, PH
December 5, 2023

Chinese tourists grow 48%, contribute to sustain DOT forecast


DOT Usec. Benito “Bong” Bengzon, Jr., poses with the HSMA Board of Directors during their general membership meet in Dusit Thani Hotel

By Buddy Recio

DOT just released its arrival growth from January to May this year showing a total of 3,177,974 foreign tourists, a 10.24% growth from the same period last year of 2,882,737 arrivals.

In a presentation by DOT Spokesperson Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr., during the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association’s general membership meeting last July 5 at Dusit Thani Hotel, he imparted that the country still had the same top four markets:

South Korea 705,548 2.76% 22.20%
China                       559,289 43.81% 17.60%
U.S.A.                       463,273 8.05% 14.56%
Japan       275,943 7.87% 8.68%

Considering all the top 4 markets posted positive figures, what is notable is the high 43.81% growth rate by China and the low growth rate by South Korea. This year, an anticipated downturn due to the temporary closure of Boracay island from April 26 to October 26 for rehabilitation is hoped to be minimal as re-bookings will outnumber cancellations.

Chinese tourists, the most coveted nationality, have started to come in droves via chartered flights due to the renewed friendly relations of both countries. The Chinese are also the second in tourism spend not just in the country but globally as well. Landed visas or visa-upon-arrival status have been granted to nationals from People’s Republic of China (PROC) for a 30-day stay starting August last year.

Not putting all its eggs in one basket as always, Usec. Bengzon stated that its marketing and promotional thrusts will be well-distributed.

“We will keep the “It’s More Fun” campaign as it has grown traction among key markets. Digital placements will have an increasing larger share of budget allocation. On source markets, Northeast Asia (South Korea, China, and Japan) will continue to be our bread and butter, and account for more than 50% of our visitor arrivals. We will continue to look at our core markets like Australia, U.S.A. Taiwan, Canada, Singapore, U.K.,and Malaysia. Other countries within Southeast Asia will also be given attention as the short travel time, the wide range of LCC options and affordability present opportunities for us to grow our current intra-ASEAN share of about 10% share to 15% in the short term,” Bengzon said.

As there are other markets in the global tourism scheme of things, Bengzon added that the “opportunity markets” (India, France, Spain, Russia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean (Turkey and Israel) will also be prioritized to be able to have a good mix of source markets to make sure that DOT will attain the head count and revenue targets under the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP).


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