THE holidays have delivered further gains for the Philippine tourism industry as it breached its 1.7 million target by year-end with 2.65 million international visitor arrivals as of December 31, 2022, translating to P208.96 billion or USD 3.68 billion in tourism revenue, a 2465.75 percent from the same period last year.
The new record has nearly one million additional visitors entering into the country than the year-end target.
This was based on the monitoring conducted by the Department of Tourism (DOT) from time the country has reopened its borders for all types of travelers in February until December 31, 2022, where Filipinos abroad were expected to flock back to the country for the annual Christmas and New Year celebrations as well as visits from foreign tourists who chose the Philippines as their holiday destination.
Of the total 2.65 million international visitor arrivals last year, 628, 445 were returning Filipinos while the bulk of 2.02 million tourists were foreigners from the country’s top tourist markets from the United States (505,089), South Korea (428,014), Australia (137,974), Canada (121,413), the United Kingdom (101,034), Japan (99,557), Singapore (53,448), India (51,542), Malaysia (46,805), and China (39,627).
In her New Year’s Eve message, the tourism chief expressed her elation on the achievements made by the administration of President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos, Jr. just six months after assuming office. She said this clearly showed the gains of the Marcos administration’s support for tourism and the hard work of the entire tourism industry towards recovery amid the setbacks from the unprecedented crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On behalf of the Department of Tourism, we wish you all a New Year filled with abundance, optimism and hope. Moments of great difficulty are also moments of great opportunity. In the past, we have overcome a global pandemic, survived various calamities, and thrived through a host of many other challenges, yet, the Philippine tourism industry has managed to exceed expectations and our tourism partners and frontliners continue to offer the best of Filipino grace and hospitality to the world,” the tourism chief said.
Frasco also thanked President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. for his continuous support to the tourism industry as one of the drivers for economic recovery.
She noted that the efforts made by the Department, together with its partners, were part of the current administration’s vision for it to be a catalyst for the Philippines’ economic resurgence not only in terms of job opportunities but investments as well.
“Therefore, we welcome 2023 with gratitude and excitement for Philippine Tourism to bounce back stronger than ever. We shall welcome with warmth and that distinct Filipino smile visitors from all over the world as they visit our award-winning beaches, experience the richness of our culture, and enjoy our world-renowned Filipino Brand of service excellence,” she said.
Meanwhile, the previous year has generated an estimated 5.23 million tourism-related jobs. There were also 11,989 DOT-accredited tourism enterprises as of December 29, 2022. A total of 25,770 tourism stakeholders have also been trained.
Last year, Frasco revealed to the media that the DOT is targeting 4.8 million international visitors in 2023 as its baseline but she remains hopeful that the Department will again surpass its targets just like the achievements done in 2022.
“We look forward to the continued convergence and collaboration of our tourism stakeholders— travelers, tourism players, national agencies, local government units, and host communities— in propelling our industry to the heights of becoming a tourism powerhouse in Asia,” the tourism chief enthused.