BUSAN, South Korea – The Philippines and South Korea signed a deal on Monday to strengthen tourism between the 2 countries.
Philippine Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she expects the tourism deal to further boost tourist arrivals from South Korea, which has been the Philippines' top source of international visitors for 9 straight years.
“With this renewed pledge on tourism cooperation between the Philippines and Korea, we are hopeful we can sustain and intensify the already-strong ties with Korea that we enjoy,” said Puyat, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Philippines.
South Korean Tourism Minister Park Yang Woo also signed the agreement, which will be in effect from 2019 to 2024.
The agreement aims to introduce joint programs and activities for two-way tourism promotion between South Korea and the Philippines; and strengthen cooperation on tourist safety, security and quality assurance.
In 2018, the Philippines booked over 1.6 million arrivals from South Korea, which represented 22.8 percent of the total arrivals that year.
The Philippines also booked 1.45 million tourist arrivals from South Korea from Jan. to Sept., which made up 23.6 percent of the total for the period, Puyat said.
“To sustain the momentum, the DOT will embark on a more aggressive marketing campaign to continue to capture a bigger chunk of the Korean market," Puyat said.
The Philippines will also encourage more airlines to fly direct to international gateways other than Manila from key cities in Korea.
She noted that aside from "sun and beach" tourism, Koreans come to the Philippines to study English.