Manila: Tourist arrivals in the Philippines have risen 7.59 percent in the first quarter of 2019, the country's Department of Tourism (DOT) reported.
The DOT said the figures showed tourism in the country was "on the right track."
According to data released by the DOT, around 2,204,564 foreign visitors arrived in the country from January to March 2019, reflecting a 7.59 percent rise from 2,049,094 over the same period last year.
“The DOT is working on enhancing our tourism products and tourism infrastructure to entice tourists to choose the Philippines as their next destination," DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said.
South Korea remains the top source market with 519,584 tourist arrivals compared to last year’s 477,087.
The period also saw the Chinese market rank second with 463,804 tourists, 24.87 percent higher than the previous year’s tally of 371,429.
The third largest number of tourists by nationality came from the US, with more than 293,780 visitors, up by 3.10 percent from last year.
Taiwanese visitors posted the highest increase by percentage, their numbers rising to 77,908 from 59,877 in 2018, 30.11 percent higher than last year.
The other top 12 markets during the three-month period were Japan (177,769), Taiwan (77,908), Australia (73,147), Canada (72,352), the UK (53,402), Singapore (39,484), Malaysia (37,651), India (36,275), and Germany (33,725).
In March alone, the DOT reported a visitor arrival of 714,309 or an 11.13 percent growth versus the same month last year.
"Notably, France entered the top 12 for the month of March, posting 10,715 visitors, a 26.21 percent growth from last year’s March tally of 8,489 while Germany rose to 11th place with 11,075 visitors, sporting a 9 percent increase," the DOT said.
Meanwhile, visiting Philippine passport-holders permanently residing abroad (not including overseas Filipino workers), otherwise known as “balikbayans,” totalled 14,610 as of March.
Puyat attributed the growth in numbers of visitors to the rehabilitated Boracay Island, touted as a model of sustainable tourism development, as it continues to attract tourists since its reopening in October last year.
The DOT chief also credited improved connectivity for the upward trend in tourist arrivals to the country.
In a recent speech, Puyat said the DOT remains committed to its objective of establishing the Philippines as a "quality destination" in the region.
She said, "For that, we need to be able to prioritise the following: adequate infrastructure, ease in travel facilitation, safety and security and developed tourism areas.
"To ensure that we get these done, the DOT is implementing a convergence approach where the department works in partnership with other national government agencies."