June 14, 2024

The Philippines targets to attract about 15 percent more inbound visitors from the United States, seeing the “highly valuable” market as a big contributor to the full recovery of the country’s tourism sector.

In 2023, at least 903,299 visitors from the U.S. arrived in the Philippines, generating P35 billion in tourism revenue – the highest among the country’s top tourist markets.

“This (receipt) is 215 percent higher than the tourism receipts from South Korea, so this is how important the American market (is). While the arrivals are fewer, the contribution is bigger,” Philippine Tourism Director-Attache in New York Francisco Hilario Lardizabal said over the weekend.

Data from the Department of Tourism showed visitor receipts in 2023 reached P482.54B, with the U.S. as the top spending market, followed by Australia with P17.74B, South Korea with P16.41B, Canada with P15.85B, China with P12.24B, and Japan with P10.02B.

In a briefing with visiting Filipino journalists, Lardizabal said the American market tends to spend more and stay longer in a destination.

In the Philippines, Lardizabal said the majority or 55 percent of inbound travelers from the U.S. are former Filipino citizens, whose main travel motivation is to visit friends and relatives.

“Filipinos from the U.S. do go around the Philippines and stay longer in the Philippines, and mind you, they also spend a lot. Apart from the money they spend on travel, they sometimes also give out money to their relatives,” he said.

Presenting the country’s planned promotion efforts for the entire year, Lardizabal is confident the Philippines would achieve 15 percent more of the 2023 arrival figure.

Lardizabal said the DOT was taking a multi-pronged approach to entice the market by forging partnerships, conducting more training for travel agents, joining business-to-business travel trade events, and organizing curated familiarization tours.

Before the pandemic, most U.S. travelers to the Philippines were baby boomers, or those in the age bracket of 60 to 78, and Generation X, or those aged 44 to 59.

Citing a 2022 study, the majority of US travelers “showing interest in the Philippines” now are millennials or those born between 1981 and 1996, Lardizabal said.

Iyon ang dapat natin bigyan ng pansin, how do we address the needs and preferences of the millennials,” he said.

The emerging travel trends in this market are geared toward immersion or experiential travel, wellness tourism, workcation, premium travel, solo travel, and adventure and sports, among others.

In the U.S. alone, Lardizabal noted the uptick in sales for sports and equipment for other activities such as hiking, horseback riding, cycling, and scuba diving. – PNA