A total of 858,244 aliens, foreigners that is, landed on Philippine soil during the first quarter of 2008, according to a Department of Tourism (DoT) report. Koreans occupy the No. 1 rank in the number of arrivals of foreigner-tourists, something which is hard to dispute — one is likely to bump into a Korean national in his/her travels in the Philippines.
The Top 10 Market Arrivals are:
Hong Kong (31,344)
United Kingdom (23,863)
A recent Inquirer report shows that “a total of 3.14 million foreigners visited the Philippines in 2008, or a 1.5-percent rise from 2007 figures, the DoT said. This could be attributed to the bigger number of foreign travelers coming from new Philippine markets, like China, France and Russia, it said.”
The increase of foreign tourists is good news for Philippine tourism. Let’s not forget, however, the importance of cultivating domestic travel by Filipinos. We’ve previously noted that the line “Huwag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan” is continually being repeated, to the point of being treated as a cliche. Maybe there’s another way of saying the gist of that line, but the gist remains valid.
Or maybe we need a foreigner to tell us to go see our own country.
The December 2008 issue of the Rogue magazine features an interview with Nivat Chantarachoti, Thai Airways General Manager in the Philippines and Guam. He has this very interesting statement, when asked what he observed about the way Filipinos travel:
I noticed that a lot of Filipinos are very well traveled abroad. But when you ask them about a local tourist destination, they will be at a loss. It is really ironic. I’ve been to a few of the local tourist destinations here, and I am always amazed with what I see. The Philippines is blessed with world-class beaches, history sites, interesting culture, colorful traditions, and on top of it all, warm and friendly people. If the government wants to develop the tourism industry here, they should start with the locals.”