Filipinos as Tourists: Exploring the Philippines

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.

Report of Department of Tourism for 1st Quarter of 2008 (photo of DoT report)The Top 10 Market Arrivals are:

Korean (175,147)
USA (166,128)
Japan (99453)
China (48,619)
Taiwan (31,441)
Hong Kong (31,344)
Australia (30,936)
Canada (29,525)
United Kingdom (23,863)
Singapore (23,761)

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.”

Good point.

7 thoughts on “Filipinos as Tourists: Exploring the Philippines”

  1. Indeed. How right the comment of the Thai Airways manager. I left that beautiful country three decades ago but I always long to see the countless new developments going on there. Although I have seen the great European cities, I wouldn’t mind visiting my country of birth when I get some money!!! Aha, you might say. In the UK, many Britons travel to other Euro cities and resorts, however, I know for a fact that in the 80’s, majority of them traveled up and down their country. As I visit the UK very often (my husband is British), I have seen for myself how many Brits travel and enjoy seeing their country. They know it is beautiful and has many things to offer in terms of history, architecture, art, just like in the Pinas, I dare add. It is right to be told by DOT and other kapwa-pinoy that spending your money right in the Philippines is a smart move and really, why not enjoy our very own sights and sounds and sites? There are so many things there nowadays to appreciate (state of the art developments, etc.) So, kapway, pinoy, let’s appreciate our own country and let those workers there enjoy the money you pay them. You, the Filipino tourists, are also helping the economy as well as employing our own kapwa-pinoy indirectly, by going to the places and restos and resorts etc. AFter all, these are Filipinos whom you see when you step foot in hotel lobbies, restos, entertainment venues, etc.

  2. Hill, very well said. Thank you for dropping by and sharing your insights. Hopefully we’ll hear more from you.

  3. Hi Fred,

    I am curious though if the american tourists referred to our not Fil-ams. I have a feeling they are Fil-ams but classified as americans tourists w/c they are anyway. My point is it’s easier for me to belive that next to Koreans, Japanese are the 3rd largest number of tourists that visit us.

    Thank God before I left there, I did quite of gallivanting. I still yet to visit Batanes, Sagada & western visayas. Actually, I also want to sleep in Talim Island.

    I saw in one web site of a Quezon town a blurb that says: yanong saya dine ay!

  4. Hi, Fred,
    I’m so glad we have another commenter, Roy. He, like me, I think are prolific bloggers. Just a shame not more Pinoys/Pinays are joining in. As for Roy’s comment regarding Fil-Am tourists, who come and enjoy our great tourism sites, I think that’s admirable: at least they spend their money right in the Philippines, and not in our ASEAN neighbours. We need more Filipinos spending their money right there.

  5. Roy, that’s a good point, although you’re also correct that Fil-Ams carrying American passports are rightly categorized as Americans. In any case, as Hill said, it’s always a welcome fact that they’d rather spend their green bucks here in our country.

    By the way, welcome to this blog. As Hill mentioned, it’s nice to know that there are more Filipinos out there who are sharing their Philippine experience — and proud to be a Filipino. See you around.

  6. It’s quite easy to understand why Filipinos themselves hardly ever travel to other islands. For one, majority of Pinoys don’t have high paying jobs. So much so that just meeting day to day needs is practically a struggle that at the end of the day there’s hardly anything left of one’s salary especially after taxes and paying the essentials for one’s family. In addition, up until recently, the cost of air/maritime travel and occupancy in local hotels/inns was quite prohibitive relative to local salaries that one would think twice before planning to go to other islands. But with the advent of outsourcing jobs which usually command a higher pay and the fall in airfares due to increased competition from budget airlines, domestic tourism especially group adventure tours among co-workers has been gaining ground that increasing numbers of them troop to Boracay, Baguio, Cebu, Palawan and Hundred Islands during the Holy Week. And this is well documented with revenue as well as occupancy figures. And nowadays, its quite common to hear ordinary Pinoy workers especially those working in call centers having spent a weekend in Singapore, Bangkok and nearby Asian countries on a spur which up until recently wasn’t the norm.

  7. “He, like me, I think are prolific bloggers.”

    Hill Roberts, you really have no shame do you? People, stop trusting this woman. She is a known social climber who will use your money over and over again so that she could live the good life in Europe. This biatch is a user. She will befriend you first but will only use you.

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