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Philippines tourism receipts above 2019 levels: tourism boss




Philippines tourism receipts above 2019 levels: tourism boss

Christina Frasco (pictured), secretary of the Department of Tourism in the Philippines, says the inbound travel market recovered “faster than expected” in 2023.

The country’s international tourism receipts surged to an estimated PHP482.54 billion (US$8.65 billion) from January 1 to December 31, 2023, said Ms Frasco, as quoted in a press release from her department.

The figure represented a 124.87-percent increase from the previous year, according to the statement. In 2019, before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Tourism recorded PHP482.15 billion in international tourism receipts.

The Philippines has also reached an estimated 66 percent recovery rate for its “all-time high”international visitor arrivals achieved in 2019, according to the update.

The country received an aggregate of 5.45 million international visitors in full-year 2023, with 91.8 percent being foreigners. The remaining 8.2 percent, or 447,082, were overseas Filipinos.

The Philippines is one of the few jurisdictions in Asia to have an extensive casino industry open to locals as well as foreigners. A number of commentators has mentioned that the Philippine casino sector had benefitted in 2023 not only from domestic demand, but a return of visitors from overseas.

South Korea retained the top spot as the Philippines’ main source of international visitors, accounting for 26.41 percent of all arrivals in calendar 2023. It was followed by the United States with nearly 16.6 percent; Japan accounting for 5.6 percent; Australia with 4.9 percent; and China accounting for about 4.8 percent of all arrivals.

The Philippines aims to draw 7.7 million foreign visitors this year after exceeding its arrival goals for 2023, Ms Frasco said in mid-December.

“These numbers speak very well of the performance of the tourism industry,” stated Secretary Frasco, adding that the tourism industry “has become a pivotal force” driving the country’s “economic resurgence”.

She added: “We will continue to realise the vision of this administration to make tourism a catalyst for economic growth and resurgence.”

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