Tourist arrivals in the Philippines continue to increase by leaps and bounds. The first quarter of 2012 was a big feat for the tourism industry, as 411,064 foreign tourists arrived in the country in January, 2012, setting an all-time high for the first time in a single month, and surpassing the 400,000 target. It was a “historic first for Philippine tourism,” says the Department of Tourism, which goes full-blast in its brand campaign, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.” South Korea remains the country’s main source of tourists, accounting for 102,166 visitors.

The number is expected to increase with convergence initiatives and efforts that the government has been undertaking with public and private sector. It would most likely exceed the target of 4.6 million arrivals for 2012.

The government aims for more tourism arrivals by 2016 under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP 2011-2016). Tourism and agriculture are top priorities as these sectors create jobs and spur socio-economic development, especially in rural areas. In just a year of PDP implementation, 3.9 million foreign tourists visited the country in 2011.

Airports in Kalibo, Caticlan, Puerto Princesa, Laguindingan in Cagayan de Oro, and Clark in Pampanga will be upgraded to assist travelers. Businessmen are urged to invest in infrastructure, agriculture, and tourism to spur economic development. The Philippine Business Registry and one-stop shops help entrepreneurs transact with multiple government agencies in less time.

The government has set a goal of 10 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2016 as well as a target of 35 million Filipinos traveling around the Philippines in the next four years. Filipinos, known for being hospitable and accommodating, are urged to help the government achieve its targets,. With people and other stakeholders support, the government is optimistic of achieving its tourism target.

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