I always look forward to meetings called by our Department of Tourism because I know that there is always something important which will benefit our industry.
Just the other day, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced that the country welcomed 684,063 foreign visitors in November last year, an impressive 21.25 percent increase from the arrivals in November of the year before. The double-digit monthly posting brought to 7,484,115 the total foreign arrivals from January to November 2019, a solid and significant 15.58 percent growth over the figures in the year before.
The Tourism Secretary gave credit to the collected efforts of our country’s tourism stakeholders, strongly backed up by government support. Sec. Romulo-Puyat cited our successful hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games as having been an important factor in this laudable surge in foreign arrivals. However, she reiterated that firming up our sustainable tourism development program is more important than hitting the targeted numbers.
The National Tourism Development Program for 2016-2022 originally projected an 8.2 million total international arrivals for last year, and it looks like we will achieve such target, and more, as we welcomed our 8 millionth foreign visitor last December.
All of us involved in our tourism industry are now aware that sustainable tourism is the name of the game, and that we have to do our share in making this possible.
South Korea remains as our top source of tourists, as shown in the November statistics which banner a whopping 37.71 percent increase over the figures of November the year before, while China comes in second with a 30.02 percent rise over the year before.
Expectedly, the USA remained as our third biggest source of visitors but showed only a 4.46 percent increase over last year. Japan, at fourth place, posted a 12.58 percent increase, while Taiwan, at fifth place, showed a healthy 40.76 percent growth.
Hopefully, our present Taal Volcano woes and the feared coronavirus spread will not be too big a factor to damage the 2020 year-end figures. Thank goodness the concerned government agencies are ably handling the situation, while we continue to pray that the current slack in international traffic will return to its normal frenetic pace in no time.
With Boracay already restored to its original allure, and our other sun-sea-sand destinations currently being rehabilitated, I am confident we will bounce back easily.
Those of us in the industry are extremely pleased that our collective efforts, steadily backed up by our government, have produced these favorable results. We know that our next task is to see to it that responsible tourism, leading on to sustainable tourism, will be practiced by everyone connected directly or indirectly with the industry. That is the only way we can keep this momentum going.
Fixing our eyes on this target, in spite of calamities we experience right and left, isn’t it MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES?
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