International visitor arrivals in the country continued to increase sharply last November, a momentum that indicated another record-high finish for the tourism industry by the end of 2019, according to the latest data released by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat disclosed that the country welcomed 684,063 inbound travelers in November, an impressive 21.25 percent rise from November 2018. The double-digit monthly posting brought to 7,484,115 the total visitor arrivals from overseas from January to November 2019, which is 15.58 percent higher than the total for the same period in the previous year.
“We are just happy that our collected efforts paid off with the yearend projections indicating an outstanding performance of the tourism industry,” said Puyat who assumed the DOT a year and half ago.
The country’s successful hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) is expected to boost last year’s upward trend in monthly foreign visitor figures that began to shoot up in October with 638,549 from September 606,553.
Puyat, however, reiterated that firming up the country’s sustainable tourism development program is more important than hitting the targeted numbers. The National Tourism Development Program (NTDP) for 2016-2022 originally projected an 8.2 million total international tourist arrivals, even as the country welcomed the eight-millionth tourist in December.
“The continued increase in tourist arrivals through November ensures we would have achieved a year-end total that surpasses that of the previous year. But, what’s more important is we have launched a successful movement for sustainable tourism,” said Puyat.
According to the DOT Statistics, Economic Analysis and Information Management Division (SEAIMD), the data on international visitor arrivals are based on the Arrival Cards filled out by foreign nationals and collected by the Bureau of Immigration.
South Korea remains the country’s top source market with 176,185 visitors, a whopping 37.71 percent increase from last year’s 127,935 arrivals for November while China comes in second with 126,785, a 30.02 percent rise compared to the previous year.
The United States of America (USA) remained as the third biggest source of visitors with 82,617 arrivals, at least 4.46 percent higher than November last year. Japan placed fourth in the list with 53,784 arrivals, up 12.58 percent from 2018. Notably, the Taiwanese market posted 53,784 arrivals for November, a marked 40.76 percent growth from the previous year.
Canada and United Kingdom markets also registered increased arrivals with 20,405 and 18,210, respectively.
Rounding off the top 10 visitor markets are Singapore with 14,738 arrivals and Malaysia with 13,531.
The visitor receipts for the first eleven months of 2019 is estimated at US$8.84 billion.
Based on the Medium Term NTDP, the DOT targets 9.2 million foreign tourists this 2020.