Philippines tourism industry eager to welcome back Chinese visitors
Published: Feb 07, 2023 02:03 AM
A view of Coron Island in Palawan, Philippines Photo: VCG

A view of Coron Island in Palawan, Philippines Photo: VCG

The Philippines' tourism industry has been keenly anticipating the arrival of Chinese visitors, Philippine tourism authorities told GT, with outbound tour group services set to resume on Monday.

Chinese travel agencies and online travel companies resumed pilot outbound group tours to a total of 20 countries starting from Monday, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced on January 20. The 20 destinations include Southeast Asian nations like the Philippines and Thailand. South Africa, Russia, New Zealand and Argentina are also listed destinations for the pilot group tours.

"We were enthusiastic when we heard the news that China will open its borders and resume international travel, both inbound and outbound," Rene Reyes, tourism attaché at the Philippine Tourism Office Shanghai, told the Global Times on Monday.

Prior to the pandemic, China was the second-largest source of international visitors to the Philippines, Reyes said, noting that the country received 1.74 million tourists from China in 2019. Chinese tourists also accounted for the second-highest source of revenue, with a total of $2.32 billion in 2019. 

As part of the 20 foreign destinations being endorsed by the Chinese ministry, Reyes said that it serves as a great promotion of the country as the Chinese government has put trust in the Philippines as a destination that will ensure safety for Chinese tourists. 

The progressive diplomatic relations between China and the Philippines - evident from President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr.'s visit to China on January 3 - helped with the Philippines' inclusion on the list, Reyes noted.

This will create opportunities to bring back the tourism business to the country from China, as there is a lot of interest from the private sector, including travel agencies, airlines and possible investors, Reyes said.

On China's travel services platform Mafengwo and, the top five recommended Philippines trips for Chinese visitors are Boracay, Bohol, Siquor, Fridays Puerto Galera Beach Resort and Oslob Whale Shark Watching. 

As visitors from China increase, there will be more tourism investment in hotels, resorts, restaurants and other services, Reyes noted, and this will create jobs for local people.

From April 1, 2022, the Philippines reverted to pre-pandemic immigration entry rules, allowing fully vaccinated travelers from all countries to enter without quarantine.

"We really are hoping that the group tours will come back to the Philippines. For this purpose, we are eager to work with travel agencies on the possibility of offering Philippine tour products as well as reviving charter flights in the country," Reyes said.