Tourist bookings up 50% from Jan to May, trade group says | Inquirer Business

Tourist bookings up 50% from Jan to May, trade group says

Tourist bookings from January to May climbed 50 percent compared to the same five-month period in 2022, driven mostly by domestic travelers, highlighting the potential for more growth once the influx of foreign tourists to the Philippines returns to prepandemic levels.

Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) President Fe Abling-Yu told this to the Inquirer last week, expressing improved optimism for the industry which was badly hit during the height of the coronavirus pandemic almost three years ago.

“A lot of our corporate accounts, they did not really hold any conferences or incentivized travel for employees during this time last year. So, now, we see them going all-out, not just in traveling, but in terms of accommodation and food when they do go out,” Abling-Yu said on the sidelines of PHILTOA’s general membership meeting at the Manila Hotel.


“As for foreign bookings, we are not yet back (to prepandemic levels) admittedly. But hopefully, come 2024 we will see better,” she added, citing that they are only still seeing “trickles” of foreign tourists arriving in the country.


More than two million international arrivals were recorded in the first half of 2023 according to the Department of Tourism, which accounts for nearly half of the government’s target of 4.8 million foreign visitors for the entire year.

Meanwhile, Abling-Yu said they were now promoting Mindanao as the next big tourist destination of choice, seeing the untapped potential of the region.

She said that if tourist destinations in Mindanao were given ample focus, the regional tourism industry would thrive further and provide more jobs numbering in the thousands.

“If we can give more focus to Mindanao, if we promote it, I believe that the economic potential and job generation is really huge,” said the PHILTOA official.

“We are developing and priming emerging destinations, like Basilan de Isabela. PHILTOA would like to be a part of the development of these emerging destinations,” she added. INQ

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TAGS: Business, tourist

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