Philippines tourism
Image Credit: Department of Tourism Philippines

Manila: Tourism, the sector hardest hit buy the pandemic movement restrictions, is on the way to recovery following the easing of curbs for international travel, a senior Philippine official said. 

Government data show that the country welcome 21,974 tourists since February 10, 2022, when the Philippine government reopened its borders to international tourism, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Monday.

In an interview, Romulo–Puyat told TeleRadyo that the top sources of foreign tourists were the US, Canada, United Kingdom, and South Korea.

“We also have tourists from Australia, Vietnam, and Japan. The list is long, but those are our top ones,” she added.

That number includes returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The DOT cited data from the One Health Pass (OHP) which showed of the 21,974 tourists who landed in various airports in the country, 10,074 of them consist of returning OFWs while 11,900 are international tourists.

The DOT provided a breakdown of the international tourists who arrived:

  • United States: 5,516 tourists
  • Canada: 1,366 tourists
  • United Kingdom: 918 tourists
  • Australia: 891 tourists
  • South Korea: 859 tourists
  • Vietnam: 572 tourists
  • Japan: 459 tourists,
  • Germany: 447 tourists

"I was pleasantly surprised with the number of arrivals on February 10 alone", she said.

She also said most of those who arrived, were reunited with their families and loved ones while others even came to extend aid to Filipinos displaced by Typhoon Odette last year.

“They were just waiting for the Philippines to reopen,” she added.

'Sign of revival'

According to Romulo-Puyat, the current increase in international visitors signals foreign tourists’ desire to visit the Philippines, which will aid the revival of the country’s tourism sector.

“We at the DOT continue to be optimistic that this trend will be sustained and will support, not only the tourism industry but also, the recovery and growth of our economy,” she added.