MANILA, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines is aiming to attract 2 million Chinese tourists to visit this archipelagic Southeast Asian country this year, an official of the Department of Tourism (DOT) said on Friday.
Niel Ballesteros, chief of DOT Market Development Group, told Xinhua that the Philippine government is expecting an estimated 2 million Chinese tourists to visit the Philippines this year, almost twice the number of Chinese tourists who visited the country in 2017.
Ballesteros said the Philippines is on target to reach the 2 million target given the booming economic and diplomatic relations between Manila and Beijing.
"To meet the target, the Philippine government will increase the connectivity between two countries. Now, we are luring more direct flights between China and the Philippines," Ballesteros said.
Most of the Chinese tourists who visited the Philippines last year spent their holidays in the world-renowned beach island resorts of Boracay and Bohol, DOT records showed.
This year, Ballesteros said DOT is endorsing other destinations in the Philippines, like tourists spots in Dumaguete on Negros island in the central Philippines.
A total of 968,447 Chinese tourists visited the Philippines from January to December 2017, or an increase of 43.33 percent from 2016, making China the second largest source of tourists last year.
The Philippine government announced in January that it is increasing the number of flights between the Philippines and China to lure more Chinese tourists.