MANILA – Visa applications at the Philippine embassy in China has more than tripled, indicating that Chinese tourists are coming to the country “in droves” after President Rodrigo Duterte sought friendlier ties with Beijing, one of his economic managers said Thursday.
Daily visa applications have surged to 1,400 from 400, said Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, who was in Beijing recently.
Duterte visited China in October last year, signaling a thaw in ties that were strained by disputes in the South China Sea. China in return pledged $24 billion in investments and lifted a travel warning on the Philippines
“Chinese tourists are going to be coming in droves,” Pernia said.
Pernia said tourism would also get a boost from the country’s hosting of the 65th Miss Universe pageant and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings.
The Department of Tourism recorded 5.4 million international arrivals from January to November last year, up 12 percent from the comparable period in 2015. Visitor receipts grew 3.24 percent to P211 billion.