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Philippines enjoys record-breaking visitor numbers, with Chinese tourists up 62% in a year
July 13, 2016Article by Charlotte Ashton
With more than 7,000 islands, a wealth of marine life and stunning natural scenery, the Philippines have long been a popular tourist destination. Tourism accounted for 10.6% of the country’s GDP in 2015, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Visitor numbers are on the up, reaching a record 2.52 million international arrivals in a span of five months (January to May 2016), based on Department of Tourism (DOT) figures, an increase of 13% compared with the same period in 2015.
Chinese visitor numbers boom
South Korea is the biggest source of international visitors to the Philippines, accounting for 25% of those who visited in 2015 (1.3 million visitors). So far in 2016, South Korea has provided 23.22% of total arrivals to the Philippines, while the US has accounted for 14.66% (equating to 481,596 Koreans and 303,951 Americans during January to April 2016). Chinese visitors came in third, accounting for 11.5% of international arrivals (238,523 visitors) in the first four months of 2016, according to the DOT data.
The number of Chinese tourists has leapt significantly over the past year, increasing by 62.44% between April 2015 and April 2016. The trend is one that is set to continue according to Hong Kong-based investment house CLSA, which has projected that Chinese visitors may come to outnumber those from the US over the next few years.
Courting Chinese tourists
Plans are already in place for the Philippines to attract greater numbers of Chinese tourists. Philippine Airlines’ president and chief operating officer, Jaime Bautista, has announced the airline’s intention to add an additional Chinese city to its range of destinations before the end of 2016. He has expressed confidence that the Philippines could double its number of visitors from China in just three years.
Meanwhile travel agency Ctrip has stated that it is hopeful that the Philippines’ new president, Rodrigo Duterte, will launch China-friendly policies, such as visa-free access for Chinese tourists. With Chinese visitor numbers already increasing so rapidly, the move would be a quick and easy way to suddenly add a massive boost to the Philippines’ already thriving tourism industry.
The impact of the tourism boom
Ray Withers, CEO of specialist property investment company Property Frontiers, has been studying tourism levels in the Philippines for some time. He comments,
“These kind of rises in tourism are excellent news for the economy, but the Philippines needs to ensure that it grows its tourism sector accordingly. The country is ideal for those who love beaches, nature and adventure sports, all of which will continue to draw in increasing numbers of visitors, so it needs to ensure that it has sufficient hotel accommodation and other tourism infrastructure essentials in place to meet the rising level of demand form international visitors.”
One way it is doing that is through the stunning Portofino Ocean’s Edge Resort, located on the beautiful, peaceful island of Carabao, just 15 minutes by boat from Boracay. The exclusive 5* resort will offer a limited number of villas to tourists looking to enjoy their own private beach, along with an infinity pool, spa, wellness centre and cliff edge clubhouse with restaurant and bar. There’s even a private jetty and a helipad for those who like to make an entrance.
Investment in Portofino Ocean’s Edge Resort, which is managed by the Chinese-owned Plateno Hotels Group, is available from USD 109,000. Investors can look forward to 10% interest during construction, expected 15% NET return (underwritten at 10% minimum), 120% optional buyback and 70% minimum ROI over five years. They can also add to the Philippines’ visitor numbers personally, with 14 days of unrestricted usage per year.