Tourist arrivals from Taiwan, Malaysia post biggest growths this year

MANILA, Philippines—Tourists from Malaysia and Taiwan posted among the biggest jumps in arrivals this year as the tourism industry picked up through renewed marketing and enhanced air connectivity with key cities, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Saturday.

The DFA said Taiwanese tourist arrivals in the country rose by 22.98 percent this year with a total 188,862 visitors, the strongest growth among the Philippines’ tourist markets.

This makes Taiwan the fifth-biggest source of visitors following top countries South Korea, with 830,000 arrivals, the United States, with more than half a million tourists, Japan with 341,000 and China with 215,000.

Citing a report from the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, meanwhile, the DFA said some tourist arrivals from Malaysia rose by 22 percent this year, up from 2011 arrivals that totaled 97,154.

With the jump, Malaysia has become the country’s 10 largest tourist market, up from the 11th slot last year.

The DFA said this rise could be attributed to the increase in flights between the Philippines and Malaysia and “aggressive tourism efforts” by the Kuala Lumpur post to spread the Department of Tourism’s “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign.

“The surge in Malaysian tourist arrivals is the second-strongest growth the Philippines has seen among its many markets, only surpassed by those coming from Taiwan. More and more Malaysians are discovering why, as our new tourism slogan goes, it’s more fun in the Philippines,” said Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya said during a reception of the post’s tourism office this month.

He is optimistic of even more arrivals in the coming year with the expected improvement of the security situation in Mindanao, where tourism had been sidestepped by recurring conflict.

“We expect that this significant growth to continue and also see more foreign tourists going to Davao, Siargao and other destinations in Mindanao in the light of the signing of the Framework Agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. This may unlock the terrific tourism potentials of the region,” said Malaya.

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