More than a million Chinese tourists are expected to flood into the Philippines this year.
Philippine Ambassador to China, Chito Santa Romana, said embassies in the country were being inundated with visa applications and China could soon be the nation’s “number one source of tourism”.
“We expect Chinese tourist arrivals to breach the one million mark this year,” he told reporters in Beijing yesterday (Saturday, May 13).
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo has previously said that her Chinese counterparts had committed to sending at least a million Chinese tourists to the Philippines as President Duterte continues to pursue stronger ties with Asia’s largest economy.
The government is also initiating bilateral talks in a bid to settle disputes over the South China Sea.
Ambassador Santa Romana said Beijing’s commitment to encourage more of its citizens to visit the Philippines was already being felt in consular offices across China.
“Our consular offices and different consulates in China – in Shanghai, in Guangzhou, in Xiamen – are all flooded with a deluge of visa applications compared to the year before,” he said.
“There is a crying need for more personnel because they have to work on weekends and work overtime especially when the Chinese holidays are approaching.”
As things stand, South Koreans are the country’s top source of tourists with 305,052 arrivals, followed by the USA, with 179,898. China is currently in third place with 164,199 arrivals.
The Department of Tourism has also considered offering visa-free travel to Chinese tourists in a bid to further increase numbers visiting the country.