Manila eyes more Chinese tourists by easing e-visa

THE country hopes to lure up to two million Chinese tourists this year amid efforts to remove the cap for issuing e-visa for Chinese nationals, Philippine Tourism Secretary Christina Gracia Frasco 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, she said in a statement.

“We are hoping 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 last Friday.

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 two 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 one of the key economic drivers, the tourism industry’s contribution to the Philippines’ gross domestic product stood at 12.7% 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$3.82bil (RM17.5bil) in revenue.

For 2023, the DOT targets international arrivals to hit between 2.6 million and 6.4 million “in a high scenario”. — Xinhua

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