By Azer N. Parrocha
MANILA, Oct. 10 (PNA) — Foreign tourist arrivals in the country reached 3.59 million during the first eight months of this year, up 9.87 percent from 3.27-million visitors recorded in the same period last year, data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed.
DOT attributed this to the positive growth rates of the country’s top markets for the first eight months of the year. The top ten markets have also breached the 100,000- mark in arrivals.
Asia contributed the biggest arrivals to the Philippines with 335,255 visitors for a share of 69.74 percent to the total arrivals; followed by the Americans with 59,747 (12.43 percent), and Europe with 38,135 visitors (7.93 percent).
Australasia/Pacific contributed 4.22 percent; Overseas Filipinos, 3.07 percent; and the Middle East, 1.77 percent in the overall arrivals for the month.
Korea, which is still the top contributor of arrivals, brought in 901,749 visitors this year, which is a 15.04 percent increase versus its 783,852 visitors in 2014.
Second to Korea was the United States of America which brought in 531,217 visitors for the first eight months of the year, a growth of 7.68 percent, followed by Japan which brought in 334,881 visitors, up by 7.71 percent.
These countries were followed by China (322,417 visitors), Australia (153,097 visitors), Singapore (121,917 visitors), Taiwan (120,630 arrivals), Malaysia (103,995 visitors), United Kingdom (103,577 visitors), and Canada (102,293 arrivals).
Among the top 12 markets, DOT said that Taiwan registered the highest growth of 24.36 percent while Hong Kong continued to show marked improvement with a 10.39 percent increase in arrivals.
DOT said inbound tourists in August, which showed the highest growth rate for the year to date, totaled to 480,689 visitors, or an 18.41 percent increase compared to the August 2014 arrivals with 405,970 visitors.
Air arrivals to the country this month was recorded at 473,841 visitors while those who entered the country by sea was registered at 6,848 visitors.
Manila, the primary port of entry of the country, received the biggest number of visitors at 297,044 or 61.80 percent of the total arrivals. Cebu with 94,789 visitors shared 19.72 percent, followed by Kalibo with 63,925 visitors or 13.30 percent of the total.
The other ports provided a combined arrivals of 18,083 sharing 3.76 percent to the total arrivals. Arrivals by sea which constituted 1.42 percent of the total summed up to 6,848.
At present, the DOT is working on sustaining tourism growth and momentum beyond 2016 by continuing its convergence program with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which aims to enhance access to local destinations.
The department is targeting about five million tourists by yearend and 10-million tourists by 2016. (PNA)