MANILA - More than 4.1 million international tourists visited the country in the first 6 months of 2019, 11.4 percent higher compared to the same period in the previous year, the Department of Tourism said on Wednesday.
In June, tourist arrivals grew 21.4 percent to 643,780 versus 530,267 in June 2018.Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat credited new transportation infrastructure for the growth .
“Seven years ago, it took the entire year to reach 4 million tourists. The Philippine tourism industry has indeed come a long way with better and increased connectivity. New, rehabilitated and expanded airports have contributed much to this growth," Puyat said.
South Korea remained the top source of tourists with China coming in second. The United States ranked third followed by Japan and then Taiwan.
“By expanding our portfolio of tourism products and by developing and promoting our lesser-known but emerging destinations, we have attracted a large yet diverse set of foreign travelers and have sustained our growth in the highly-competitive South East Asian region,” Puyat added.
She expects more travelers from the US to visit the Philippines in the coming months following the US Homeland Security’s decision to lift its public notice on NAIA.
The DOT has ruled out Boracay-style closures of major tourist destinations this year as it aims to boost tourist arrivals.