Philippines expects more Chinese tourists by facilitating e-visa service

MANILA, June 3 (Xinhua): The Philippines hopes to attract up to 2 million Chinese tourists this year amid the South-East Asian country's efforts to remove the cap for issuing e-visa for Chinese nationals, Philippine Tourism Secretary Christina Gracia Frasco has said.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is "continuously coordinating" with other government agencies to lift the cap on issuing e-visa for Chinese nationals to meet the ambitious target, Frasco said in a statement on Friday.

"We hope to be able to inure, for the benefit of our stakeholders, the full implementation of the e-visa system by the end of this year," Frasco said.

In January, Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos directed agencies to extend e-visa for Chinese, Indian, South Korean, and Japanese nationals to encourage tourists from these countries.

According to the DOT, over 2 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines from January to mid-May this year. Some 75,000 Chinese tourists were among those who vacationed in the archipelagic country famous for world-class fine-sand beaches, limestone formations, and aquamarine lagoons.

As a key economic driver, the tourism industry's contribution to the Philippines' gross domestic product stood at 12.7 per cent in 2019.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic dealt a severe blow to the tourism sector, slashing foreign arrivals and displacing almost 1.1 million service workers nationwide.

The Philippines received over 2.65 million foreign tourists in 2022 since it eased restrictions on foreign travellers' entry, earning roughly US$3.82 billion in revenue.

For 2023, the tourism department targets international arrivals to hit between 2.6 million to 6.4 million "in a high scenario." - Xinhua

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