Rillo Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo Photo by VER NOVENO

China poised to reclaim rank as PH’s 2nd biggest supplier of foreign tourists?

March 17, 2024 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 223 views

Chinese visitors to PH surged 235% year-on-year in Jan-Feb

ARE tourists from mainland China finally starting to return to the Philippines in droves? Is China set to reclaim its spot as the second-biggest supplier of foreign visitors to the Philippines, after South Korea?

Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo, vice chairperson of the House committee on tourism, believes so.

“The surge in Chinese tourist arrivals in the Philippines in the first two months of 2024 is very encouraging, and we hope that the uptrend will keep going in the months ahead,” Rillo said.

“We need the number of Chinese travelers to return to their pre-pandemic levels to sustain the full recovery of our highly labor-intensive tourism enterprises,” Rillo added.

Rillo said he is counting on the tourism industry to drive the creation of new jobs for Filipinos in services such as accommodation, transport, food and beverage, and entertainment, and in other activities in the value chain.

China soared as the third-biggest supplier of foreign visitors to the Philippines, after South Korea and the United States, in the first two months of 2024, based on Department of Tourism (DOT) figures.

China leapfrogged over five countries – Canada, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom – that previously supplied the Philippines with the largest number of visitors a year ago, or in the first two months of 2023.

The number of Chinese travelers that arrived in the Philippines surged by 235 percent to 82,314 in the first two months of 2024, from 24,552 in the January to February period in 2023.

“In order to showcase our tourist attractions and lure more Chinese travelers, we would urge the DOT to send delegations of Philippine travel, tour, hotel, and resort operators to China,” Rillo said.

Rillo said Manila’s lingering maritime dispute with Beijing “should not inhibit or discourage the DOT from seeking new opportunities to capture a larger number of Chinese tourists.”

A total of 1,093,283 foreign tourists arrived in the Philippines in the first two months of 2024, up 27.6 percent from 856,883 in the January to February period in 2023.

South Korea and the United States supplied 329,651 and 185,387 visitors, respectively, in the first two months of 2024.

Pre-pandemic numbers

In the entire 12 months of 2019, or the year immediately before the pandemic, China was the second-biggest supplier of foreign visitors to the Philippines, behind South Korea.

A total of 1,743,309 Chinese tourists arrived in the Philippines in 2019. They accounted for 21 percent of the 8,260,913 foreigners that visited the Philippines that year.

South Korea supplied a total of 1,989,322 tourists to the Philippines in 2019, or 24 percent of all foreign visitor arrivals.

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