South Koreans remain the top tourists group in the country with over a million arrivals per year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.
DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez said Korea is followed by the United States, Japan, China and Australia in terms of tourist arrivals.
“China and Japan are still very close. You can assume that monthly you have around 100,000 arrivals from Korea,” Jimenez told reporters at the “Tourism Star Philippines” awarding ceremony on Thursday night at the Raffles and Fairmont Hotel in Makati.
Jimenez said primary destinations in the country for Korean tourists are Manila, Cebu, Bohol and Southern Luzon.
Meanwhile, Jimenez said the DOT was confident that the country could rake-in at least $6-billion in tourism revenue by the end of 2015.
“We are now close to $5 billion a year in income from foreign arrivals. We were able to improve our product offerings so we are actually making more money than the actual,” said Jimenez.
The DOT chief said that they had been projecting a serious decline in tourist arrivals , but the opposite had happened.
“We still have growth and because our major markets are growing again—Taiwan is growing again, the US market, Japan, so nakatulong yun,” Jimenez said.
Meanwhile, Jimenez said DOT is aiming to develop a stronger reputation for gastronomy for the Philippines.
“Not necessarily for Filipino food but for Filipino skill. Importante yun, remember it’s the 21st century, hindi labanan yan kung sino ang pinakamagaling na lasa ng pagkain. It’s really more because the millenials are going to demand better cooking, better food, a richer experience so that’s where we are focussing,” he said.
Jimenez said that as part of this effort, the DOT would be encouraging the formation of more culinary institutes in the country.
“These (culinary schools) are very important. Kayo lang e. Ngayon may automatic na expectation for plating. Hindi pwedeng basta ilagay ang patatas sa ano, maiinis kayo diba? Project yourself 10 years from now, kailangan talagang up to speed tayo dun. People are going to eat with their eyes so we have to be very careful,” he said.