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DOT: 7.1M Tourist Arrivals in 2018 an ‘All-Time High’

BORACAY was closed for six months last year. Being the number one tourist destination in the Philippines, one would think that tourism in 2018 took a dip. That wasn’t the case at all.

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The Department of Tourism reported on Thursday that 7.1 million tourists arrived in the country in 2018, which is an all-time high.

A total of 7,127,168 foreign tourists – 7.65 percent higher than the 6.62 million foreign tourists in 2017 – visited the country last year, said the DOT.

The government agency also added that Philippine tourism was above the 6 percent average tourism growth in the Asia and the Pacific based on the data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer.

Other Tourist Destinations

Appreciation for other destinations in the country – that’s what Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat thinks the cause of the record-high increase in tourism.

“The challenging act of closing down Boracay – a flagship destination, the country’s top sun-and-beach destination has evidently become a blessing in disguise for secondary tourism spots to have a share of the limelight and attention they truly deserve,” she said.

“It shows that turning off the faucet when the water is unclear can bring a fresher flow in just an unexpected period of time,” Puyat added.

When Boracay was closed, the “alternative destinations” that tourists went to last year included Siargao, Iloilo, Palawan, La Union, Romblon, and Siquijor.

Top Tourist Markets

With 1.58 million tourists, South Korea remained as the top tourist market for the Philippines.

China came in second with 1.25 million tourists, which is an astounding 29.62 percent growth from the figures in 2017.

The United States owned the third spot with 1.03 million, followed by Japan with 631,801 arrivals and Australia with 279,821 visitors.

Based on the data, most of the foreign visitors arrived in December and January 2018.

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