The return of Chinese tourists could boost the recovery of her country's vital tourism sector, which has long been hampered by the pandemic, said Secretary General of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association Cynthia Lirio.
The tourism industry's contribution to the Philippines' gross domestic product stood at 12.7 percent in 2019.
by Yan Jie, Yang Yunqi
MANILA, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Cynthia Lirio, secretary general of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA), told Xinhua in a recent interview that the Philippines welcomes Chinese tourists and is looking forward to receiving tour groups from the world's second-largest economy.
"Huan Ying Zhong Guo You Ke (Welcome Chinese tourists). Welcome to the Philippines, our Chinese community and friends," said Lirio, both in Chinese and English.
As one of the world's largest outbound tourism markets before the COVID-19 pandemic, China resumed outbound group tours on Monday, signifying huge potential growth in neighboring countries' tourism revenue, including that of the Philippines.
Lirio said the return of Chinese tourists could boost the recovery of her country's vital tourism sector, which has long been hampered by the pandemic.
"It's really a big help for our community by Chinese people coming here, because they contribute a lot of revenue and a lot in tourism. Together with local government units, our (central) government and also our association, we're helping each other to give all the details we have to people who come back for the tourism purposes," said Lirio.
As a key economic driver, the tourism industry's contribution to the Philippines' gross domestic product stood at 12.7 percent in 2019.
Lirio expects Chinese tourist arrivals to increase rapidly this year, citing the diversity of the nation's tourist resources.
"Actually, the Philippines has a lot of characteristics, it has beautiful places for tourists to visit. We have beautiful white sand beaches, a lot of resorts and bio-diversified places," she added.
Over 1.74 million Chinese tourists visited the Philippines in 2019, an increase of 38.58 percent from 2018. Chinese tourists spent more than 2.3 billion U.S. dollars while vacationing in the country, official data showed.
Philippine Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said the government's target for 2023 is to lure some 4.8 million international visitors, with the Chinese tourist market remaining on its priority list.