2 Million tourist arrived in the Philippines, decreased arrivals from Hong Kong

Mainit Falls, Tablas Island Philippines
Gaining over 300,000 tourist arrivals in the sixth month of 2011, the Philippines recorded 1.91 million visitors halfway into the year, attributable to continuous gains in key markets.
“This is 12 percent more than what we had from January to June last year. At this rate, we are looking to outperform our 3.52 million showing in 2010 and hit, if not surpass our 3.74 million target, especially as we forge ahead with our international promotion programs,” remarked Secretary Alberto A. Lim.
Growth in the leading East Asia regional market remained steady at 17.52 percent with strong gains posted by Korea (429,569 visitors, up 28.76%), China (105,423, up 16.85%), and Taiwan (84,979, up 35.81%). Japan registered a modest climb of 5.66 percent from last year to 181,379 arrivals. These four countries are among the Philippines’ top five country markets in the region, while the United States, with 338,020 visitors (up 6.57%), rounds out the list in 2nd place.
“We are reporting positive growth in all our foreign markets, with the exception of Hong Kong. The DOT has therefore stepped up its marketing and promotions campaign therein. In June this year, we spearheaded the country’s participation in the International Travel Expo, considered one of the largest and most significant travel and trade events in Hong Kong. We are organizing a series of familiarization trips for Hong Kong media as one of the measures to help intensify the campaign to bring back Hong Kong tourists to the Philippines,” said Assistant Secretary for International Tourism Promotion Benito C. Bengzon Jr.
The DOT is expecting additional growth in arrivals from the Asia-Pacific region to be driven by expansion projects of low-cost carriers. Tiger Airways is launching its Singapore-to-Davao flights this November while Air Asia Philippines is expecting to begin regular flights out of Clark to Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau in October.
The Philippines—Clark and Davao, specifically—stands to benefit from these new air services and additional flights in terms of lower fares, direct connection to their extensive route system, access to their existing markets, and promotion of the destinations through these carriers’ distribution networks.
In spite of being displaced from the top five by Taiwan, Australia surged 20.33 percent to 82,761 visitors from January to June, good for sixth place. Canada performed similarly, improving 15.5 percent with 61,150 arrivals to eighth in rank for the year. Other top country markets are ASEAN best performers Singapore (66,161 visitors, seventh) and Malaysia (44,471, 11th), both logging improvements from last year.
Both Northern and Western Europe saw modest gains of 3.64 and 8.25 percent to register a combined 160,401 visitors. The United Kingdom (51,376 visitors) and Germany (30,060) are 10th and 12th best among all country markets, respectively.
Elsewhere in Europe, Russia’s 9,820 visitors were good for a significant 34.48-percent gain. Just outside the top 12, fellow emerging market India ranked 13th midway into 2011 with an impressive 49.61-percent build on last year for 22,742 visitors.
A total of 309,749 foreigners visited the Philippines in June, 12 percent more than in the same month last year. It is the fourth out of six months this year to register double-digit growth from corresponding months in 2010.