By Ma. Teresa Montemayor
MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is optimistic about the continuous recovery of the country’s tourism industry following the return of group travel and chartered flights from its top resource markets.
“We are very happy to welcome the resumption of chartered flights from China into Kalibo. This only manifests the fact that Boracay remains a popular destination for Chinese tourists,” DOT Secretary Christina Frasco said in a statement Monday.
On April 18, a total of 180 Chinese tourists aboard a chartered OK Airlines flight from Changsha, China to Kalibo, Aklan arrived at Boracay Island.
It is the first chartered flight from China since the market reopened for international travel on Jan. 8.
The DOT led a welcome reception for them upon their disembarkation at Kalibo to give the visitors a preview of the warm Filipino hospitality.
“Together with the local government and our very active private stakeholders, we shall aggressively pursue the promotion of sustainable and responsible tourism in Boracay, so that more will come to enjoy its beauty in the long run,” Frasco said.
In 2019, a total of 434,175 Chinese visitors arrived at Boracay Island.
The country also received more than 1.7 million visitors from China by the end of 2019.
Frasco underscored the importance of visa reforms that would ease entry for the country’s top source markets such as China during a high-level convergence meeting between the DOT, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Justice and Bureau of Immigration on March 24.
Consequently, all Philippine foreign service posts in China have resumed the processing and issuance of Philippine visas to Chinese tour groups since April 11.
The DOT is also looking forward to the implementation of the electronic visa system to facilitate the ease of entry of tourists into the country. (PNA)