MANILA, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- A total of 1.74 million Chinese tourists visited the Philippines in 2019, a 38.58 percent increase from 2018, data from the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) showed on Monday.
Philippine Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement that a total of 8.26 million foreign tourists vacationed in this tropical country famous for pristine beaches and century-old churches.
Puyat said the total tourist arrival in 2019 is a 15.24 percent growth over 2018's year-end figure of 7.16 million.
According to the DOT data, China remains the second-largest tourism market with 1.74 million arrivals.
South Korea is the top source market with a total of 1.98 million arrivals, for a 22.48 percent increase. And the United States is the third, yielded 1.06 million visitors for a 2.90 percent increase.
Puyat described the year 2019 as "a new milestone in the country's tourism history" because the foreign tourists' arrivals reached the 8 million mark.
Tourism industries contributed 12.7 percent to the Philippine economy in 2018, according to the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA).