International visitor arrivals increased 15 percent year-on-year to hit a new record in the first quarter, the Tourism Department said Thursday.
Data showed the volume of visitor arrivals from different countries reached 1.6 million in the January-March period. In March alone, arrivals increased 11.9 percent to 510,270, following a 20.4-percent growth in February and 13.2-percent rise in January.
South Korea remained the top source of visitors in the first quarter, with 383,544, or 23.9 percent of total arrivals. It was followed by the United States with 231,233 visitors, China with 184,512, Japan with 143,624 and Australia with 67,265.
Arrivals from China surged 98.3 percent while visitors from Taiwan increased 24.9 percent. Other high-growth markets in the first quarter were India with 23.7 percent, France with 123 percent, Spain with 30 percent and Sweden with21.1 percent.
Meanwhile, international visitor receipts rose 14.9 percent to P58.96 billion in the first quarter. Tourism activities in March alone grew 6.9 percent to P18.3 billion.
Average daily expenditure of foreign tourists reached P4,933.59 in the first quarter. Average length of stay of visitors was estimated at 9.48 nights.
South Korea was the top spending market with receipts amounting to P4.09 billion. It was followed by the United States with P3.1 billion and Australia with P1.46 billion.
Arrivals at international airports accounted 496,709 or 97.3 percent of total inbound visitors in March. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport welcomed 353,538 visitors or 69.3 percent of total visitor volume while Cebu welcomed 72,915 visitors or 14.3 percent and Kalibo received 52,903 visitors or 10.4 percent. Clark received 14,282 visitors.
The department said cruise tourism became one of the fastest growing tourism segments in March. About 2,946 visitors arrivals were recorded at the port of Manila and 7,256 visitors arrived at the ports of Palawan during the month.