Cowrie Island in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan (PNA photo)

MANILA – The Philippines has received a total of 1,961,087 foreign visitors as of Nov. 8, the highest arrival figure since the onset of the pandemic.

Latest data from the Department of Tourism showed that this year's top markets– the United States, South Korea, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan–make up half of the total arrivals.

From February to Nov. 8, over 370,000 visitors came from the US; 272,299 from South Korea; 93,011 from Australia; 85,784 from Canada; 74,777 from the UK; 73,054 from Japan; and 39,982 from India; 38,270 from Singapore; 33,696 from Malaysia; 32,139 from Vietnam; and 28,536 from Germany.

China, meanwhile, fell to 12th place from being the country's second top source market for tourists prior to the pandemic.

The Philippines under the new administration has eased several protocols to sustain the increase in arrivals, including the lifting of entry restriction on unvaccinated foreigners provided they present a negative antigen test result.

In a recent engagement in London, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco reiterated that the Philippines is ready to receive more leisure travelers.

Aside from international visitors, the country is also banking on the domestic tourism to fast-track the industry's recovery.

"The strategy to be employed by this new administration in the Philippines is to maximize domestic tourism to be able to equalize tourism promotion development throughout and across our 16 regions and 81 provinces all over the Philippines and to give attention and promotion as well as development not only to our key destinations, but as well as our lesser-known destinations," Frasco said.

"After all, we have 7,641 beautiful islands in the Philippines that are all worthy of a visit, whether from domestic or international tourists," she added. (PNA)