MANILA- The Department of Tourism (DOT) lauded on Friday China's lifting of its traveling advisory against the Philippines.
Beijing on Thursday announced that it was lifting an advisory to its citizens against travel to the Philippines, as the two countries work to repair ties that have been strained by a maritime dispute.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said China's invitation to President Rodrigo Duterte "signaled a massive potential for tourism exchange, as well as momentous diplomatic relations between PRC and the Philippines."
"As head of the DOT, the Chinese government's gesture means all the world to me. It deserves the Filipino people's accolades, especially those of the tourism stakeholders who stand to benefit from the increased influx of visitors from all over China," Teo said.
According to the DOT, from January to July this year, a total of 422,801 Chinese tourists visited the country, ranking third with 12 percent of the market share, next to Korea and the US.
Teo said more organized tours from China are scheduled for the next two months, following the visit of 2,000 tourists from Guangzhou to Boracay.
"We target 12 million annual international visitor arrival in 2022. Hopefully, we would no longer lag far behind our Asian neighbors in terms of tourism" Teo said.
Chinese arrivals to the Philippines reached almost 500,000 in 2015, higher by 24 percent than the 2014 recorded arrivals of 394,951.