MANILA, Philippines - Tourist arrivals in the Philippines reached 4.27 million in 2012, up by 9% from the 3.92 million visitors in 2011.
This is the first time the country welcomed more than 4 million visitors, the Department of Tourism said in a statement.
"Crossing the 4-million mark is a feat in itself and puts us well on track to achieve our ultimate goal of 10 million visitor arrivals by 2016," Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said in the statement.
But despite the milestone reached, the level is below the 4.6-million target set by the government.
"Some shortfalls were felt due to economic and political pressures from traditional markets such as US, Europe, and China. However, despite a few bumps in the road, all key source markets still registered positive growth for the year," the DOT said.
Bulk or 24% of the visitors came from South Korea, with a total of 1.03 million tourists flying to the Philippines. The country remained the country's biggest market and the first to have one million tourists in the Philippines.
South Korea was followed by the United States of America with 625,626 visitors, while Japan came in third with 412,474 tourists.
Other markets from which other visitors originated from include China (250,883), Taiwan (216,511), Australia (191,150), Singapore (148,215), Canada (123,699), Hongkong (118,666), Malaysia (114,513), United Kingdom (113,282), and Germany (67,023).
The DOT stressed overseas Filipinos comprised 5% or 215,943 of the total arrivals in 2012.
For this year, the government hopes to see over 5 million visitors.