Chinese tourists ‘pivotal’ on Phl tourism

A lawmaker on Thursday disclosed that the Philippines’ tourism sector needs to bring 1.7 million Chinese tourists annually to recover from the ravage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, stressing that the country needs Chinese tourists to assist its tourism firms in recovering, which would allow tens of thousands of Filipinos laid off during the pandemic to be re-employed.

According to Quezon City Representative Marvin Rillo, the tourism sector will have to draw in on an annual basis at least the same volume of Chinese tourists that the country received in 2019 assuming that the pandemic is declared over later this year or early 2023.

Rillo added that prior to the pandemic, the Philippines had received almost $2 billion in tourism revenue from Chinese tourists in 2019 alone.

The lawmaker’s statement comes after the Chinese embassy in Manila categorically denied reports that the Philippines has been placed under China’s blacklist of tourist destinations due to issues hounding the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations industry.

The revelation of Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri that the country is included in China’s blacklisted countries following a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian was denied by the Chinese Embassy and called it “misinformation.”

Rillo, meanwhile, commended the Chinese embassy’s explanation, stressing that the nation relies on Chinese travelers to help rebuild its devastated tourism infrastructure in the coming months.

According to the lawmaker, prior to the pandemic, China was the Philippines’ fastest-growing supply of foreign visitors, citing statistics from the Department of Tourism.

Before the pandemic, the Philippines accepted 1,743,309 visitors from China, up 38.58 percent from 1,257,962 in 2018, according to the solon, adding that Chinese nationals accounted for 21.10 percent of the 8,260,913 foreigners that visited the country in 2019.

It only declined in 2020 due to international air travel restrictions the World Health Organization imposed after Covid-19 was designated a global pandemic in March of that year.

Despite a decline to 9,674 in 2021, the number of Chinese tourists grew to 22,236 from January to September this year.

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