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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, February 5, 2018
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Construction of
cruise ports pushed

Former president and Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Pampanga, 2 nd District) is pushing for the construction of cruise ports in major coastal provinces of the country, a government press release said.

“If the cruise ports are constructed, the Philippines will further open its gateway for more Chinese tourists. Data from the Department of Tourism showed that China is our third largest source of tourists,” she said during a luncheon she hosted for the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and Association for Philippine-China Understanding.

From January to November last year, about 890,114 Chinese tourists visited the country which is a significant improvement from the 243,137 arrivals recorded in 2011.

Poro, Subic Bay, Mariveles, Manila, Boracay, Palawan, Bohol, Cebu, and Davao are the possible sites of these cruise ports.

Earlier, the Department of Tourism said that 6,620,908 foreign tourists visited the Philippines in 2017, marking the unprecedented growth of the country's tourism industry. It grew about 11 percent from the previous year's arrivals of 5,967,005.

For 2018, the target is 7.4 million international tourist arrivals.

“We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to all the tourism stakeholders who worked hand in hand with the DOT in achieving another milestone for the country," Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said.

Philippine tourism even bested the average tourism growth of Asia and the Pacific, which is at six percent, and Southeast Asia at eight percent, the latest United Nations World Tourism Organization World Tourism Barometer showed.

The tourism milestone came after a series of political noise, security concerns, and travel advisories against the country last year.

“We overcame these challenges with the innate resiliency of the Filipinos and the cooperation of everybody. And for that we are very thankful," Teo added.

She also thanked all stakeholders who made the country's hosting of the Miss Universe and the ASEAN Summit, Madrid Fusion Manila 2017, World Street Food Congress, and the UNWTO International Conference on Tourism Statistics a huge success.

Improved air routes and more cruise calls together with travel infrastructure development, travel facilitation, product development and tourism investments drummed up the tourism industry last year.

South Korea remained the country's top source market with the lion's share of 1,607,821 attributing for almost a quarter of the total tourist arrival. Boracay and Cebu remains the top destinations for Koreans last year.

China followed with 968,447 arrivals due to the improved ties between the Philippines and China, added air routes, and the Visa Upon Arrival option for Chinese nationals.

It is the most improved market with 43.33 percent growth rate, overtaking USA with 957,813 arrivals.

Japan and Australia wound up the top five markets with 584,180 and 259,433 arrivals, respectively.

December registered 603,062 foreign tourist arrivals, second best to the month of January 2017 at 620,121.

“The seven million that some people refer to was a fighting target that we have set for ourselves. Officially, the target is at 6.5 million which is embodied in the National Tourism Development Plan and we have achieved it," Benito Bengzon Jr., DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Development, said.*PIA/PNA


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