From research culled from various websites and other sources, we find that Philippine tourism has, indeed, been on an uptrend over the past years.
The Philippines climbed 20 notches to 74th place in the 2015 World Economic Forum Tourism Competitiveness report. This rise in ranking reflects the country’s growing ability to attract and look after a growing number of visitors. The 5.3 million visitors that the country received in 2015 was a 10.91 percent increase from the previous year.
As expected the growing number of visitors boosted the country’s tourism earnings to a record P274.6 billion ($597 million based on the 2015 exchange rate of P46 to $1).
South Koreans topped the list of visitor arrivals with 1.34 million in 2015. Since 2012, South Korea has been the biggest source of tourists to the country, accounting for as much as a quarter of all foreign tourist arrivals.
A distant second was the United States with 770,217 visitors (14.54 percent of the market), followed by Japan with 495,662 visitors (9.25 percent), China with 490,841 (9.16 percent) and Australia with 241,187 (4.5 percent). Other countries in the top ten were Singapore, Taiwan, Canada, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.
The country that registered the highest growth was China with an increase of 24.28 percent. This was followed closely by Taiwan with 24.27 percent growth. Other markets that registered high growth included Spain, France, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and Hong Kong.
In 2015, a foreign tourist in the Philippines spent on average of P4,948.14 ($107) a day. Multiply that by the average length of stay of 10 nights, each tourist spent P48,852 ($1,062) during their trip.
The biggest spenders were, not surprisingly, the South Koreans. In 2015, they provided P66.55 billion to help boost the country’s tourism earnings. Americans were the second biggest spenders with P42.31 billion, followed by Australians with P12.83 billion. In fourth place was Japan with P12.20 billion and China with P10.19 billion.
From 2011 to 2015, the number of Filipinos directly employed by the tourism sector grew by 8 percent annually to 4.7 million. This is estimated to be at least 12 percent of the country’s current total workforce. The total number of Filipinos that benefit from tourism could be even larger if we were to include workers in industries indirectly related to tourism such as construction, education and medicine.
Most tourists entered the country through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. The NAIA’s four terminals have a capacity of 43.5 million passengers; as of 2015 the number of passengers passing through NAIA had already reached 36.5 million.
There are currently 40 domestic and international carriers that link NAIA with other airports around the world. The country’s second most important airport is the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, which handled 7.78 million domestic and international passengers in 2015.
The country’s seaports in 2015 welcomed 71,514 foreign visitors, most of them passengers on a cruise liners. This is a segment that is projected to grow in the coming years as an increasing number of cruise liners have begun including the Philippines in their list of destinations.
The Philippines grants visa free entry to most travelers whose visit to the country are less than 30 days. However, citizens from 39 countries that include India, China and Taiwan need to secure a visa before entering the country. But since India, China and Taiwan are among the country’s biggest source of tourists, there are proposals to amend the law and grant their citizens short-term visa free entry as well.