MANILA -- The country is "on track" with its 2018 target for international arrivals after foreign tourists to the Philippines reached an "all-time high" of 3.706 million in the first half of the year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Thursday.
"We are actually on track. We are halfway the year and we are exactly halfway of our National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) target arrivals," DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.
Data gathered by the DOT Statistics, Economic Analysis and Information Management Division (SEAIMD) showed that foreign arrivals from January to June of 2018 registered a 10.40 percent growth compared to the 3.357 million arrivals last year.
South Korea remains as the country's top tourist market, with a total of 818,683 visitors for the first half of 2018, followed by China with 645,089 and the United States with 557,833.
The growth was triggered by the 11.34 percent increase of June 2018 arrivals that registered 528,747 visitors compared to the 474,854 arrivals from the same period last year.
In a data obtained by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Chinese tourists posted a 29.87 percent growth this June, the highest among the top ten markets, with 85,800 this year against the 66,066 arrivals in 2017.
Romulo-Puyat is optimistic that the first six months of 2018 serves as a "clear manifestation" that the targeted 7.4 million tourist arrivals by the end of the year is "achievable."
The official also attributed the statistics' upward trajectory to DOT’s partnership with the private sector and intensified convergence with relevant government agencies.
“The DOT’s continuous marketing promotions, aggressive actions to create new air routes and develop new tourism products, travel facilitation, and confidence in tourism investments drummed up the industry and resulted to this stellar performance. But I would like to emphasize that this will not be possible without the consolidated efforts of all stakeholders,” she said. (PNA)