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Philippines receives over 1.8 mln foreign tourists since January

Copyfrom:Xinhua News AgencyPost Time:2023-05-04 16:11:52

MANILA, May 3 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines has received more than 1.8 million foreign tourists since January this year, Philippines Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said on Wednesday.

"We have met last year's target of 1.7 million in four months," Frasco told a forum held here, adding the Southeast Asian country aims to become a "tourism powerhouse" in Asia.

She attributed the tourism arrival to the new unbridled demand for vacations and the surge of "revenge travel."

"We are embarking on three strategies, namely connectivity, convenience, and equality," she said.

Frasco said the Philippines is making reforms to make visas more accessible to tourists, such as electronic visas, the resumption of group visas, and visas on arrival.

As a key economic driver, the tourism industry's contribution to the Philippines' gross domestic product stood at 12.7 percent in 2019.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a severe blow to the tourism sector, slashing foreign arrivals and displacing almost 1.1 million service workers nationwide.

The Philippines received over 2.65 million foreign tourists in 2022 since it eased restrictions on foreign travelers' entry, earning roughly 3.82 billion U.S. dollars in revenue. The country's target for 2023 is to lure some 4.8 million international visitors.

"The good news is that the momentum for tourism recovery has already begun," Frasco said.

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