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MANILA — The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Sunday said the international visitor arrivals in the country has surged past the 5-million mark in August, heralding attainment of the industry’s targets into the last quarter of the year.

In a statement, the DOT reported that inbound foreign guests reached 5,554,950 for the period of January to August this year, indicating a 14.08-percent increase from the 4,869,417 tourists recorded during the same period of 2018.

Based on the data released by the DOT Office of Tourism Development Planning, Research and Information Management, a total of 702,843 visitors arrived in the country for the month of August alone. This number is 27.54 percent higher than the 551,088 arrivals in the same month last year.

With this, DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat thanked the local government units, the private sector and other stakeholders for their support in the tourism industry and the implementation of the government’s sustainable development program nationwide.

“This is very encouraging even as we await the completion of the statistics gathered for the month of September. The convergence approach of the DOT with other government agencies and its partners in the industry is proving effective in expanding travel connectivity while inviting more tourists to come and visit through more enticing tourism products and packages,” Romulo-Puyat said.

The DOT monthly report also showed Korea registering 185,334 visitors in August, regaining the top post for the country’s tourist markets followed by China, which recorded 170,903 in the same period.

Meanwhile, Japan’s 78,699 tourists took the third spot, overtaking the United States, which accounted for 68,418 tourists in the month of August.

Since May 2018, Romulo-Puyat has taken steps to revitalize the country’s diverse tourism portfolio.

These include the showcase of farm, food, and heritage tourism products and the emerging tourist destinations which are as fascinating as the world-acclaimed Boracay, Cebu and Palawan islands.