Marvin Rillo

Rillo: S. Korean leader’s visit to boost PH tourism

July 11, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 311 views

SOUTH Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to Manila will surely give a boost to the Philippines’ tourism sector, Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo, vice chairperson of the House committee on tourism, said on Tuesday.

“South Korea has been the Philippines’ No. 1 supplier of foreign visitors for years, and we are counting on Mr. Yoon’s visit to encourage even more Koreans to spend their vacations here,” Rillo, a stalwart of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), said.

“We could use a larger number of recreational travelers from South Korea to help our highly labor-intensive tourism industry create additional jobs for Filipinos,” Rillo added.

The South Korean leader’s plan to visit the Philippines was conveyed by Lee Sang-Hwa, Seoul’s new ambassador to Manila, when he presented his credentials to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the Malacañang Palace on Monday.

“Mr. Yoon’s visit will surely boost not only the government-to-government, but also the people-to-people relations between the Philippines and South Korea. This augurs well for our tourism sector,” Rillo said.

From January to June this year, a total of 673,841 South Koreans visited the Philippines. They accounted for 25 percent of the 2,470,798 foreigners that traveled to the Philippines in the first semester, based on Department of Tourism (DoT) statistics.

A total of 1,989,322 South Koreans traveled to the Philippines in 2019 – the year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. They accounted 24 percent of the 8,188,477 foreigners that arrived in the Philippines that year.

Despite harsh global air travel restrictions, a total of 773,347 South Koreans managed to visit the Philippines in the three years from 2020 to 2022.

Nearly 29 million South Koreans traveled overseas every year before the pandemic, based on data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.