Malacanang is expecting the country’s five million tourist arrivals to double in the coming years with China as a new market.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this comment as Chinese tourist arrivals hit 968,447 in 2017 or 43.33 percent higher compared to 675,663 Chinese tourists in 2016.
“For 2018, we expect more Chinese tourists to discover that it is more fun in the Philippines,” Roque said in a press conference in Baguio City.
With the flourishing Philippines-China relations, Roque said the country could expect more Chinese tourists particularly with the opening of more direct flights between some big Chinese cities and Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
“When we were in China, there were talks that five million tourists from China are just minimum number. So, for Chinese tourists alone, we could double our tourist arrivals,” Roque told the media.
According to the Department of Tourism (DOT), a direct charter flight between Xiamen City in Fujian province and Puerto Princesa will kick off beginning this February.
The DOT had also announced that another new route between Tianjin, a booming city in northern part of China, and Puerto Princesa was already on its way.
Roque said the Philippines, which had one of the lowest tourist arrivals in Southeast Asia, had to do something to catch up with its neighbors like Thailand which reportedly received 10 million tourists from China alone in 2016.
He said the Philippines was gifted with beautiful tourist spots, such as best beaches particularly in Boracay Island and in Palawan.
“We really need to tap tourism and it will happen with China as a new market,” Roque said. (PNA)