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20 December 2009
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Philippines: Arrivals up 17% in Q3

The third quarter, considered the local tourism industry’s lean season, exceeded expectations as tourist arrivals in the country’s major destinations grew by 17 percent to 5.2 million during this period, the Philippines Daily Inquirer reported, citing the Department of Tourism.

In its quarterly report, the department said new tourism destinations, facilities, and increased flight frequencies to the regions boosted the influx of local and foreign visitors to major destinations. The increase in the meetings, conferences and incentive travel market in certain destinations like Palawan also contributed to the hefty growth in visitor volume, it said.

Cebu was the most visited destination with 1.24 million visitors, posting a growth rate of 1.8 percent from the previous year’s comparabale volume of 1.21 million.

It was followed by Camarines Sur, which is becoming known for its eco-tourism products, with its 1.23 million tourists. Domestic travelers in the province grew by 163 percent, while foreign arrivals rose by 29 percent, the report said. Bohol and Puerto Princesa also showed improved tourist volumes.

Travelers from the northeast Asian market accounted for the bulk of the total foreign tourists at 59 percent, with the Chinese and Taiwanese arrivals posting a share of 23 percent and 16 percent, respectively, the department noted.

During the first nine months, the volume of domestic tourist increased by 21 percent while foreign tourists grew by 2.7 percent. This performance positioned the industry for greater growth in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, the tourism industry said 2010 is expected to be a banner year for the country's travel market as the world economy is on its way to recovery. It also noted that Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act, which took effect last month, would boost the country's campaign to attract more visitors next year.

"Tourism is the key economic driver of the country. High tourism also means high production; a robust tourism industry translates to a robust economy. The Act is a tool to make sure that infrastructure support is put in place, and to identify priority areas of development,” former Tourism Secretary Mina Gabor said.

Gabor was elected presiding officer in the recently-held 1st Tourism Congress.

“The whole idea to streamline the operations of the tourism department will give more ‘feet’ to the country’s marketing and promotional efforts,” Gabor noted.

The Philippine tourism industry had numerous challenges this year. Aside from the global recession, which dampened foreign arrivals, the country also suffered from the H1N1 scare, devastating typhoons, and insurgency in Mindanao.


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