MANILA, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Tourism stakeholders have vowed to improve infrastructure and services in 2019 in key tourism sites frequented by Chinese tourists, said Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) President Marlene Dado Jante on Wednesday.
"We are happy with the (huge) turn-out of Chinese tourists in the Philippines. We promise to give them more enjoyable and exciting destinations in the future," Jante said in an interview with Xinhua.
PTAA, founded in 1979, is the major Philippine national association of outbound travel agencies and inbound tour operators. The association has more than 600 members with 68 percent of them being travel agencies that are in operation nationwide.
Jante thanked Chinese people for trusting the Philippines as destinations of their travel.
Tourism has now become one of the most critical support industries of the Philippines. Nearly 1.06 million Chinese tourists visited the Philippines in the first 10 months of 2018, making China the Philippines' second largest source market of foreign tourists.
The president of PTAA said she has confidence that the Philippine tourism market has great potential in China. "I hope 5 million Chinese tourists will come to Manila," she added.
Jante said that if more Chinese tourists visit the country, local travel agencies, international airlines, hotels, resorts, and cruise companies need to work closely with the Philippine government to improve services in key tourism sites.
"I would say that we need more hotel rooms ... and we need more flights to actually lower the airfare," she said.
Jante expressed the hope that the Philippines will invite more Chinese travel agents to promote new Philippine destinations to Chinese markets. She said Chinese tourists will love myriad touristy things the country can offer.
The Philippines is a close neighbor of China and it only takes four hours or so to travel from China to the Philippines. "That's our advantage. We are very close to China," she added.