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Foreign tourists hit 6 million at September’s end, up from Q3 2018

MANILA—The tourism department (DOT) said the number of international visitor arrivals from January to September reached 6.16 million, 14.37 percent higher compared to the same period last year. 

By the end of the third quarter of 2018, foreign visitors totaled 5,387,458.

In September, the DOT tracked 606,553 international visitors, compared to 518,041 arrivals in the same month in 2018, a 17% increase.

“The figures look very promising, and we are glad that more tourists are visiting us in light of the accolades received by the Philippines and our destinations throughout the year,” DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

According to the DOT, its September report also showed a positive year-on-year arrival growth for 8 of the top 10 visitor markets in the country.

The department also cited the recognition given to the Philippines this year, such as the country’s placing eighth on the 20 Most Favorite Countries in the World of the Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) Readers’ Choice Awards, where it earned a 90.63 score among the 600,000 readers of the New York-based luxury and travel magazine.

Last June, the DOT decided against closing major tourist destinations this year to boost tourist arrivals, after Boracay was shut down to tourists for 6 months in 2018.

Tourism-related businesses contributed 12.7 percent of the Philippine economy and created 5.4 million jobs in 2018, Puyat said, despite Boracay being closed.

After the island was reopened in October 2018, the DOT limited visitors to 19,000 a day on top of 15,000 workers to make sure it doesn’t go beyond the recommended 55,000 carrying capacity.

Favorite tourist spot El Nido was also rehabilitated but was not closed like Boracay, which the DOT requested.

Manila Bay was also a focus of cleanup drives this year after 15,000 participants gathered trash in the waterway’s section in Baseco, Manila.

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