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A total of 749,647 tourist arrivals were recorded in the region in the first quarter of this year, the Department of Tourism in Davao Region (DOT-11) said Tuesday.

During the Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas forum here, DOT-11 Director Tanya Rabat-Tan said they expect more arrivals as there are international airline linkages that signified their interest in having flights in the region.

“There are a lot who expressed intent and plan. We need to work harder to establish them,” Tan said.

Currently, Tan said Qatar Airways, which used to fly directly from Doha daily, has shifted to thrice a week.

Scoot Airlines fly directly from Singapore daily, as does China’s Xiamen Airlines.

“In a world where time is of the essence, ensuring seamless travel is vital,” Tan said.

Last year, the Philippines welcomed 5.4 million international visitors, surpassing its projected target of 4.8 million.

Tan said this highlighted the growing global interest in the Philippines as a travel destination.

“Through improved transportation networks, affordable travel costs and the digitalization of tourist services, we get to address one of the current gaps that our country’s tourism is facing, connectivity, the lifeblood of our country’s tourism,” she said. (PNA)