BBM PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. presides over the presentation of credentials for Republic of Korea Resident Ambassador-Designate Lee Sang-hwa, and Mexican States Resident Ambassador-Designate Daniel Hernandez-Joseph at Malacañan Palace Monday. Photo by ROLANDO MAILO /NIB-PNA


July 11, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 243 views

THE visit of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to the Philippines will surely give a boost to the Philippines’ tourism sector.

This is according to Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo, vice chairperson of the House committee on tourism, as he welcomed the decision of Yoon to see Manila and other parts of the country.

South Korea has been the Philippines’ No. 1 supplier of foreign visitors for years.

Rillo said.Yoon’s visit would encourage even more Koreans to spend their vacations in the country.

“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 said.

Rillo made the statement even as the Department of Tourism (DOT) is embroiled in a controversy over the new “Love the Philippines” branding program’s use of a campaign video with footage of locations outside the country.

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 enterprises,” 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 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 for 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.