Tourism revenues reached $5 billion in 2015, over 5 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines last year, the Tourism Department said Wednesday.
Tourism assistant secretary Arturo Boncato Jr. said annual revenues from tourism and related activities more than doubled in the past seven years to $5 billion in 2015 from $2.4 billion in 2008.
“The tourism industry’s significant measure of performance is not only on tourism arrivals but the revenues that stimulate economic activity in the country,” Boncato said during the Asean Tourism Forum.
Manila is hosting the Asean Tourism Forum on Jan. 18 to 22, where tourism ministers from the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to meet and discuss a regional tourism plan.
Boncato said international visitor arrivals posted a compounded annual growth of 8 percent over the past seven years, from 3.14 million in 2008 to 5.4 million in 2015.
Korea remained the top source market with a record 1.3 million visitors in 2015. It was followed by the US, Japan, China, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Germany.
Cruise arrivals also increased 18 percent to 52 port calls in 2015 from 44 port calls in 2014. Cruise passengers visiting the Philippines increased 16 percent to 69,802 in 2015 from 60,183 arrivals in 2014.
“With the completion of the Philippine cruise strategy, the cruise market is seen to deliver more visitors to the country, as the strategy will provide support not only for infrastructure but also on policies that will improve the industry,” Boncanto said.
Visitor arrivals in the Philippines grew 9.6 percent in 2015, as the country improved its travel and tourism competitiveness ranking by 20 places from 94th in 2011 to 74th in 2014.
Boncanto said the expansion in tourism infrastructure and services had contributed to the overall improved performance of the industry.
He said the Tourism Department would implement more programs aimed at increasing revenues, creating more jobs and growing more inbound and domestic tourism in 2016.
Asean Tourism Forum is a regional effort to promote the Asean region as one tourist destination.
The right to hosting the forum is rotated among 10 member countries of Asean, including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.