Jan 04, 05 | 3:26 am
(Xinhuanet) -- The Philippine tourism industry has recorded the highest number of tourist arrivals in the past six years, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Friday.
According to the DOT statistics, the Philippines has also seen a hefty 1.61 billion US dollars in tourism revenue in 2004 although a number of travel advisories were issued against the country.
Tourism Secretary Joseph Durano said that data from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) showed a total of 2,233,921 international arrivals from January to Dec. 27.
"The figure easily surpassed the 2.22 million arrivals recordedin 1997," he said.
In 2004, the United States, Japan, Australia and Britain have issued the travel advisories against the Philippines for security threat in the country.
However, DOT has recorded a 32.39 percent growth in tourism earnings from 1.22 billion dollars in 2003.
"The growth in tourist receipts clearly reflects the tourism industry's potential of becoming a major dollar earner and a job provider for the country," he said.
DOT said that the growth in tourist arrivals is expected to continue and hit 2.68 million next year and tourism receipts to increase to 4.59 billion dollars by 2010.
"With the new programs and travel packages crafted by DOT and the private sector, we expect at least 16 percent growth in tourism arrivals next year," Durano said.
The expansion of hotels and further development of prime tourist destinations like Cebu, Boracay and Baguio could attract more visitors to the country next year, he added.