THE Department of Tourism said on Tuesday that it hopes to attract 7.7 million international visitors and book at least P440 billion in tourist receipts next year.
“We have now recovered 95% of our visitor receipts (from) international arrivals and in conjunction with our 7.7 million target for international visitors for 2024, we are hopeful that we can reach the P440 billion mark next year for international receipts,” Tourism Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina G. Frasco said.
The 2024 target of at least P440 billion in tourist receipts would match the actual total for the year to date as of Dec. 12, 2023
“I understand that this is not yet our pre-pandemic number of over 8.2 million international arrivals, but what I can assure you is that we will push as hard as we can and fully activate our convergences with other government agencies in order to reach this target and bring us closer to pre-pandemic numbers,” she said.
Citing the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Ms. Frasco said that the Philippines posted a tourism industry recovery rate of 65.54%, exceeding the Asia and the Pacific average of 62% in the first nine months.
As of Dec. 12, the Philippines recorded 5.07 million international visitor arrivals.
“With the holiday break fast approaching we are confident that we will further reach the target that was set this year at 4.8 million international arrivals, underscoring our commitment to continuous growth and transformation in Philippine tourism,” Ms. Frasco said.
Asked whether 5.5 million international arrivals is achievable this year, she said: “It’s a moving target, as they say. And we’re hopeful that with the holiday rush, our international arrivals will be a little over 5 million.”
In the year to date as of Dec. 12, the top source market of international arrivals was South Korea which accounted for 1.34 million visitors.
Rounding up the top five source markets were the US (836,694), Japan (285,655), China (252,171), and Australia (238,487).
Ms. Frasco said that she has requested more direct flights to and from Italy and the UK.
“We have proposed this to Philippine Airlines and we’re hopeful that the organization will be able to provide the flights because they are in high demand,,” Ms. Frasco said.
She added that the department is also batting for more direct flights to the US and Europe.
“Meanwhile, we have also been in close collaboration with our international aviation partners that have actually added more flights to the country not just to Manila, but also to Cebu and Davao for certain international airlines,” she added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile