MANILA — Filipino and Chinese officials have lined up an array of activities to boost a renewed tourism cooperation between the two countries as part of the ASEAN-China Year of Tourism Cooperation, and in fulfilment of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s promise to deliver at least two million visitors to the Philippines this year.
Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) officials, headed by Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and their Chinese counterparts have held a series of meetings at the Makati Shangri-La Palace and the Conrad Hotel Manila.
PDOT and China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) officials, headed by chairman Li Jinzao, agreed to hold marketing and communications campaigns, familiarization trips for media and tour operators, tourism-related workshops and capacity building sessions for travel professionals as well as official visits by tourism heads and joint travel fairs to be held in the Philippines and China.
Over the past several years, there has been a significant growth of tourism exchange between ASEAN and China.
Total visitor arrivals from China to the different Southeast Asian countries was 18.5 million, an increase of 42.4 percent compared to 2014. On the other hand, the total number of visitors from ASEAN countries to China recorded 6.5 million, an increase of 6.3 percent compared to 2014.
With the average annual growth of 15.7 per cent for two-way visitor-traffic between China and ASEAN for the past five years, it is projected that the target goal of 30 million mutual visits will be realized by 2020.
The progress in the implementation of the ASEAN-China Air Transport Agreement and its protocol was welcomed as it has facilitated air connectivity between the Southeast Asia destinations and China.
Since the agreement’s enactment, 37 cities located in the ASEAN member-states were connected with 52 cities in China through more than 4,900 direct flights per week.
More actions among ASEAN-China committees concerned with aviation cooperation will support the farther development of tourism in the region.