Tourism Sec. Christina Garcia Frasco and China's Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian (both standing in the middle of the photo) welcoming Chinese tourists at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1. | Photo from DOT

The arrival of 190 Chinese tourists on Tuesday is seen by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as an opportunity for the Philippines to accelerate the recovery of its tourism economy.

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco and China’s Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian welcomed their arrival from Xiamen City at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 at 4:55 p.m. on January 24.

“The arrival of Chinese tourists to the Philippines signals a very auspicious start to the New Year and indicates a positive result of President Bongbong Marcos Jr.’s state visit to China to further the relations between our countries,” she said.

“We anticipate even more Chinese tourists to arrive which will greatly help us in our efforts to transform and to recover the tourism industry as our intention is not only to regain our pre-pandemic numbers but to exceed it knowing how the relationship between the Philippines and China will only further improve in the years to come with the stance of both our governments,” the tourism chief added.

They were welcomed with leis and and gifts from the DOT, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the Embassy of China in the Philippines, and a Filipino-Chinese private stakeholder organization.

Following China’s lifting of restrictions on outbound travel for its nationals, the Philippines became the latest country to welcome their return for inbound travel.

Such a move is expected to benefit economies, as China continues to be one of the world’s top sources of foreign tourists, with high visitor spending.

“We believe that with the development of our tourism cooperation that there  will be a growing number of Chinese tourists coming to the Philippines to enjoy the beauty of this country,” remarked Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian.

“The recent state visit of President (Ferdinand Marcos) to China, both presidents of China and the Philippines have agreed to make people to people exchanges as one of the four already areas of cooperation and of course during the visits,  our  tourism cooperation was actually signed so I think that today’s event is also one of the measures to implement the agreement reached by our two leaders,” he added.

Meanwhile, the country is among the 20 nations identified by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism to be part of its pilot areas for outbound tourism group tours, including its neighboring ASEAN nations Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, as well as Sri Lanka, the Maldives, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, New Zealand, Argentina, Cuba, and Fiji.

On this Frasco, expressed gratitude to China and said that the Philippines is open and ready to welcome “friends from China” as it continues to improve the relationship between the two nations.

“We welcome you to the Philippines and we cannot wait to let you feel the warmth of the Filipino people and to enjoy our award-winning beach destinations and all our nature-based offerings. The Philippines is a country blessed with many islands, a wealth of cultural offerings, wonderful food, and the warmth of the Filipino people. And we look forward to all of you visiting our country,” Frasco said.

In 2019, the number of international visitors to the Philippines reached an all-time high of 8.26 million, with China ranking as the second-largest source country with over 1.7 million visitors after South Korea, the DOT said.

However, as a result of China’s implementation of travel restrictions, the number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad gradually decreased.

As of January 24, 2023, China ranked tenth in terms of international tourist arrivals with 6,673 visitors, 45.68 percent of whom visited the country for leisure or vacation purposes.

About Post Author

Previous articleCity Tourism preparing to launch new tour package for southwest tourism circuit
Next articlePolice roundup: Magkapatid na most wanted, arestado sa Puerto Princesa