Philippines meets target 8 million foreign tourists in 2019

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 17 2020 11:14 AM | Updated as of Feb 17 2020 11:50 AM

A tourist enjoying the white sand beach of Boracay. Fernando G. Sepe Jr. ABS-CBN News/File Photo

MANILA -- The Philippines hosted 8 million foreign tourists in 2019, exceeding its target on the first year of its refreshed campaign that focuses on sustainability, the tourism department said Monday.

The total 8.26 million tourist arrivals was above the 8.2 million target and was 15.2 percent higher from the previous year, the Department of Tourism said.

"This is a high point for Philippine tourism as it depicts our solidarity and commitment to make tourism work and prove its full potential as a sustainable and inclusive economic activity," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Boracay, which was shut for 6 months in 2018 to give way to a massive cleanup, saw its first full year of operations since the revamp in 2019.

Korea was the top market for tourists, accounting for 1.98 million of the total and growing by 22.5 percent. China was second with 1.74 million followed by the US with 1.06 million.

Japan was fourth (682,788 arrivals) followed by Taiwan (327,273), Australia (286,17), Canada (238,850), United Kingdom (209,206), Singapore (158,595), Malaysia (139,882), India (134,963) and Germany (103,756), the DOT said.

The Philippines is growing foreign tourist arrivals as Southeast Asia braces from a slowdown from China due to travel curbs aimed at halting the spread of a new coronavirus strain.