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August 10, 2007

Arrivals grow by 7% in Jan-July 2007
A total of 1.53 million foreign visitors arrived in the Philippines in the first six months of this year, 7.6% more than arrivals during the same period last year, local daily Inquirer quoted the Department of Tourism as saying on August 10.

Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said first semester statistics showed 1,528,507 tourists, with each month posting more than 240,000 visitors. Last year's first semester saw only 1,420,040 arrivals.

The first semester figure, however, was less than half of DoT's 3.1 million to 3.2 million target for 2007 as spelled out in its medium-term target of five million visitors by 2010.

Arrivals from the US grew by only 1.8%, those from South Korea grew by 16.8%. Singaporeans, who placed eighth, posted the highest growth rate, 20.1%, with 45,894.

Other tourists on the DOT's list came from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, with arrivals ranging from 39,000 to 64,000. By region, visitors from East Asia accounted for more than 45% of all total arrivals.

According to the Philippine Travel Agencies Association, an umbrella group of travel agencies and tour operators, the tourism industry in the country continued to expand and that foreign arrivals would top 2.84 million posted in 2006, which itself was a record high.

Major real estate companies have been constructing new hotels in Metro Manila, Cebu and Boracay in anticipation of the influx of foreign guests in the coming months, while major domestic airlines have launched re-fleeting programs to take advantage of rising tourist movement, according to the association.

DoT is hosting in Cebu City next month the Philippine Travel Exchange, where 120 of the world’s biggest foreign buyers of travel packages will be converging to do business directly with Philippine sellers.

Tourism industry players earlier expressed concern that the confrontation between government troops and Moro rebels in Mindanao may gain international media attention and affect the tourist perception of the Philippines.


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