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BY Andrew Doherty


WTM 2017: Positive forecast for Philippines’ tourism amid human rights abuse allegations

The Philippine Tourism Promotions Board aims to bolster international arrivals to 7.5m in 2018 despite human rights abuse claims from international media. Andrew Doherty reports.

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The growth is part of the nation’s goal of attracting 10m visitors by 2022.


Maricon B. Ebron, deputy chief operating officer at Tourism Promotions Board, said: “We are sticking with the same message regarding tourism, even with the change of administration – It’s more fun in the Philippines.”


Regarding safety concerns, Ebron said that tourists should “not worry” about President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug policies.


“Visitors should not worry as the President’s policies are not only for the protection of citizens of the Philippines but also for the protection of our guests.”


The nation has so far seen a positive year in terms of tourism growth. The Philippines has registered a 10.6% increase in international arrivals, and from January to August 2017, welcomed 4,470,880 visitors compared with the 4,042,049 recorded in the same period in 2016.


The Philippine Tourism Promotions Board expects this number to exceed the targeted 7m arrivals by the end of the year.


Making up the bulk of arrivals to the Philippines is the Asian market, with Korea representing 1.5m visitors.


China has seen strong growth too; the market is up 50% with 1m tourists recorded so far in 2017.


“China is performing well because of the good relationship our president has developed with the Chinese government. Throughout 2018 we are also increasing flight capacity with the introduction of new routes from China Eastern and China Southern to Cebu.”


Top performers from the European market include the UK, which as of August 2017 has seen a 6.3% increase; up to 125,000 arrivals compared to last year’s 117,535 January to August arrivals.


“We predict this to increase to more than 200,000 in 2018,” added Ebron.

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