MANILA, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Tourism is booming in the Philippines with more than eight million visitors coming in 2019, the government said on Saturday.
"Breaking the eight-million mark is another milestone to celebrate, as it marks the unprecedented growth of the country's tourism industry," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.
The country's Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrated on Friday the benchmark number of eight million guests, four days before 2019 ends.
"The momentous occasion is part of the DOT's tradition of celebrating the arrival of significant number of tourists following the welcoming of the Philippines' 5 million-th visitor in 2015," Puyat said.
Puyat attributed the historic eight-million mark to a number of factors, especially to the coming of Chinese holidaymakers, the refreshed branding campaign called "It's More Fun in the Philippines", and the re-opening of Boracay island resort after a six-month clean up.
Puyat said advocating sustainable tourism also improved air connectivity and hosting of big ticket tourism events. It has also helped to promote digital and online marketing, different tourism product portfolios including culinary tourism and farm tourism, healthy private-public partnerships, international accolades and recognitions.
The detailed report of visitor arrivals for 2019 will be released early in January next year.
The Philippines is hoping to reach its target of 8.2 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2019, a million higher than 2018.
China being its second largest tourist origin, the Philippines has welcomed a total of 1,499,524 Chinese tourists in the first 10 months of 2019, increasing 41 percent from the same period in 2018.
Every week, more than 300 flights are shuttling between China and the Philippines.
According to the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA), tourism industries contributed 12.7 percent to the Philippine economy in 2018.