THE mushrooming number of foreign tourist arrivals in the Philippines, mostly South Koreans, Chinese, Americans, Japanese and Taiwanese, should be welcomed by all sectors of society.
Nobody will argue that this impoverished Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 million people is one of the favorite destinations of international tourists in this part of the world.
This despite the fact that the nefarious activities of a few Filipinos, like “kotong” cops and unscrupulous taxi drivers, still tarnish the image of the country in the international community.
Of course, everybody agrees that the welfare of foreign and local tourists is a major concern of government authorities through concerned state offices and agencies, like the police.
The Department of Tourism (DoT) described the 7.59% rise in international tourist arrivals in the first quarter of the year “as an encouraging sign that Philippine tourism is on the right track.”
Records show that a total of 2,204,564 foreigners visited the country from January to March 2019, reflecting a 7.5 percent increase from last year’s 2,049, 094 foreign tourist arrivals.
DoT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat assured the public that the “DoT is working on enhancing our tourism products and tourism infrastructure to entice tourists to visit the Philippines.”
The bulk of the foreign tourist arrivals came from South Korea, China, United States, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Germany.
During the three-month period, the number of visiting Philippine passport holders permanently residing abroad, otherwise known as “balikbayan,” totaled 14,610, according to the DoT.
The figure did not include overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), whose dollar remittances continue to help prop up the local economy.
The government deserves the people’s support as it exerts its best efforts to attract more foreign nationals to visit the country.