MANILA, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese tourists spent a total of 2,330,491,557.70 U.S. dollars as they visited the Philippines in 2019, the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) said on Monday.
DOT data showed that a total of 1.74 million Chinese tourists visited the Philippines in 2019, up 38.58 percent from 2018.
According to the DOT, the Philippines' all-time high 8.2 million international tourist arrivals in 2019, contributed 9.31 billion U.S. dollars in visitor receipts, 20.81 percent higher than the 2018 figure of 7.71 billion U.S. dollars.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the constantly rising figures in inbound visitors and the corresponding income earned from their aggregate spend confirms the importance of the tourism sector as a key economic driver.
"The Philippine tourism industry's continued impressive performance dramatizes the dedication, hard work and resilience of its stakeholders through a most challenging year. We count on the same enduring qualities to get us through the challenges this year," Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.
She said the 2019 numbers show "the fruits of strong collaborative efforts among government, industry and civil society in realizing the goals of the National Tourism Development Program for 2016-2022 (NTDP), the master plan of the country's sustainable and inclusive tourism program designed to spur livelihood of marginal stakeholders and dispersal of benefits to the countryside."
Citing data gathered by the DOT Office of Tourism Development Planning, Research and Information Management (OTDPRIM), Romulo-Puyat said that a foreign guest spent 128.35 U.S. dollars average daily while the average per capita expenditure for a whole trip is pegged at about 1,218.04 U.S. dollars on an average length of stay of 9.49 nights.
She further said double-digit growth in visitor spending was observed from February to December 2019, with August exhibiting the highest growth at 31.45 percent. Meanwhile, she said the largest volume was recorded in the month of December at 872.13 million U.S. dollars.
The country's consistent top visitor market South Korea posted the highest tourist spending of about 2,614,685,263.92 U.S. dollars; followed by China, 2,330,491,557.70 U.S. dollars; and the U.S., 1,208,970,514.75 U.S. dollars.