The Philippines is close to hitting its 2023 arrival target after recording more than 3.87 million foreign tourists as of Sept. 19, according to Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco.

At the opening of the 2023 Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) in Cebu, Frasco said the country logged 3,877,183 inbound arrivals or at least 80.77 percent of the 4.8 million foreign tourists that the DOT targets to reach by the end of the year.

In the same period, the Philippines generated P316.9 billion in revenue from tourists coming mostly from South Korea, the United States and Japan.

Frasco is optimistic these figures will increase as business-to-business meetings between sellers and buyers at the PHITEX commence on Sept. 20.

She said the Marcos administration would continue working to transform the Philippines as a “tourism powerhouse in Asia”.

She shared the DOT’s plans and programs aimed at promoting ecotourism, the development of tourism communities across the country, fostering robust private sector participation to promote heritage protection, diversification of the country’s tourism portfolio and other initiatives to benefit tourism stakeholders.

In the same speech, Frasco announced that the DOT is adding 15 more rest areas across the country in 2024 to ensure quality travel experience for tourists.

Last August, the Philippine government also began processing the e-Visa application of foreign tourists coming from China to boost arrivals from the coveted market.PNA