MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines attracted 1.148 million tourists in the first three months of 2012, an all-time high according the Department of Tourism (DOT). This represented a 16% growth from the 989,501 tourist arrivals during the same period last year.
Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. said the Philippines is on track to achieve its full-year target of 4.6 million tourist arrivals.
"During this period, visitors to the Philippines increased by 16 percent to hit almost 1.15 million. From this record, we have now achieved 25 percent of our international visitor target of 4.6 million for this year," he said, in a statement. "We see no reason why we won’t hit our target of 4.6 M this year."
Koreans are still the top tourists to the country, accounting for 23% of the total tourist arrivals. In the first quarter, 265,031 Koreans visited the country, a 16% increase from year-ago figures.
The US market, which accounts for 15.64% of the total arrivals, grew by 6.35% to 179,561 visitors in the first quarter of 2012. There were 104,558 Japanese visitors during the January to March period, growing by 3.85% compared to last year.
There was double-digit growth in the number of Chinese and Taiwanese tourists to the country. The number of Chinese tourists grew by 77.53% to 96,455 in the first quarter period, while Taiwanese tourists jumped by 37.49% to 57,745 this year.
There was also a steady stream of tourists from fast-growing markets such as Australia (47,651 arrivals); Canada (36,517); Singapore (35,975); United Kingdom (31,700); Hongkong (28,800); Malaysia (24,327); and Germany (21,106).
Overseas Filipinos accounted for 4.65% of the total tourist arrivals with 53,404, a 4.98% increase from year-ago figures.
The DOT is hoping its campaign "It's More Fun in the Philippines" would further boost tourism figures this year.
"The world is now starting to see that ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’ is not just a bunch of words on a streamer. It is a competitive argument for choosing the Philippines as one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Philippine tourism is poised to surge forward as we receive a steady increase of tourist arrivals, as seen in the first quarter of this year," Jimenez said.