The Department of Tourism (DoT), Philippines has proposed to dispense away the entry visa requirements for Indian and Chinese visitors in an effort to simplify the travelling process from India and China to Philippines. According to Ramon R Jimenez Jr, secretary tourism, DoT, Philippines, “India is the 10th largest source market for Philippines but the potential for further growth is tremendous. Even though the tourism sector suffered significant damage due to typhoon Haiyan, which hit in November 2013, Philippines hosted over 60,000 Indian tourists.” He also informed that the proposal was submitted in early December 2014 and should be decided by the end of the first quarter of 2015.
Elaborating further, Jimenez Jr stated that South Korea is the top source market with over 1.2 million visitors in 2014, however, China is also among the top five markets with over 4,80,000 visitors in 2014. “However, we are planing to make India as one of our top five source markets by 2016 and are expecting to host around 250,000 Indian tourists by then,” he said while adding that the target set for 2015 is to have around 150,000 visitors from India.
Highlighting the importance of the tourism industry as a major source of revenue generation for Philippines, Jimenez Jr stated that on an average, tourists spend over US$ 100 per head daily and since the average length of stay has increased up to 10 days, the overall average spending is around US$ 2500 per visit.
Despite the disaster in 2013, the overall impact on tourist arrivals was minimal in 2014, with the country recording a growth of about six per cent in comparison to 2013 with 4.9 million tourists.
Jimenez Jr also informed that DoT is looking at establishing direct flight connectivity between India and Philippines. They are also looking at undertaking more promotional activities focusing on Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.