The Aquino administration is looking at the visa upon arrival scheme as part of efforts to boost tourist arrivals into the Philippines and achieve its 10 million foreign visitors in 2016, a ranking official of the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.
Tourism undersecretary Daniel Corpuz said in a press conference with Filipino and Canadian journalists on the Inaugural Manila-Toronto maiden flight that the administration is seriously considering the visa upon arrival scheme.
Corpuz pointed out that the scheme was adopted by member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) but the Philippines has yet to adopt it.
“Unlike other Asean countries, the Philippines has yet to adopt the visa upon arrival scheme,” he told reporters.
The tourism official said the agency received an additional P1-billion budget for next year to launch a global tourism campaign to achieve its target of 10 million foreign tourists by 2016.
The agency sees 5.5 million foreign tourists next year or about one million higher than the projected 2012 foreign arrivals of 4.6 million.
Foreign tourist arrivals went up by 11.4 percent to 3.92 million in 2011 from 3.5 million in 2010. The top sources of tourist arrivals last year were Korea, the US, Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Malaysia and Germany.
Latest data from the tourism department showed that tourist arrivals increased by 9.2 percent to 3.47 million from January to October this year compared to 3.18 million in the same period last year.
Koreans were the number one in terms of number of visitors with 832,437 or a share of 23.93 percent followed by the Americans with 534,899 or 15.38 percent, Japanese with 341,676 or 9.82 percent.
Aside from easing visa requirements, Corpuz said the tourism department is set to introduce more products to entice foreign visitors to stay longer and spend more in the Philippines.
He pointed out that the Philippines has one of the countries in Asia where foreign tourists stay longer with an average of 8.8 days.
However, he lamented that daily expenditures of foreign visitors in the Philippines is quite low at only $92.
“They (foreign tourists) spent only an average of $92 per day. We are trying to persuade our foreign visitors to spend more,” the tourism official said.
According to him, about 70 percent of the foreigners that visit the country indulge in beach holidays by visiting tourist spots particularly beaches including Boracay, El Nido, among others.
He pointed out that the administration is developing other products such as medical tourism as well as conventions and exhibitions.
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