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Philippines January arrivals double: Americans top list

(21st Feb 2003)

DESPITE fears of an outbreak of a US war against Iraq and reports on terrorism, the Philippines still experienced a continuous growth in tourist arrivals, marking a double-digit increase of 13.2 per cent in the month of January. The increase was the difference of the 175,728 tourist arrivals in January 2003 compared to 155,294 visitors in January 2002 when it yielded a 7.1 per cent negative growth rate.

Department of Tourism (DoT) Research and Statistics Office reported that tourist arrivals soared last year during the months of May with a 10.4 per cent growth rate; June, 10.0 per cent; July, 10.6 per cent; September, 15.2 per cent October, 36.3 per cent; November, 22.7 per cent; and December, 14.9 per cent.

Despite the US threat to launch a war with Iraq, more Americans visited the country making it the highest contributor of tourists in January 2003 with 36,852 and slightly higher than last year's 33,521. The Korean market ranked second in tourist arrivals with 32,782 followed by Japan, 30,762; Hong Kong, 10,666 and Taiwan with 8,727.

In terms of growth rate, the Chinese market obtained the highest increase in January with 33.3 per cent. The upsurge was brought by the groups of Chinese celebrated the Chinese New Year with their relatives. Likewise, more Chinese came to the country to experience the Wealth of Wonder (WOW) tour packages, specifically the “More Than The Usual” shopping tour packages offered during the Grand Fiesta Sale in time for the Visit Philippines 2003 celebration.

Meanwhile, overseas Filipinos on homecoming visits doubled to 7,774 in January 2003 from 3,470 in January 2002. The increase was the result of DoT secretary Mr Richard Gordon's intensified promotional campaign of Visit Philippines 2003 during his roadshow and sales missions in the US, Europe and Asia last year. He is optimistic about reaching the targeted 2.4 million tourist arrivals figures for this year.

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