MANILA— The steady growth of Philippine tourist arrivals is evident with the 4,852,107 foreigners who visited the country from January to July 2019, a 12.36 percent growth from the same period last year, according to latest figures released by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat attributed the continuous upsurge to the sustained support from industry stakeholders, government, host communities, investors and foreign travel trade counterparts.

“We remain inspired knowing that private sector, other government agencies, and civil society continue to support our sustainable tourism programs and the more fun brand campaign,” she said on Friday.

“The ‘Build, Build, Build’ program and other convergence programs, on the other hand, are key to improving our competitiveness and attractiveness,” she added.

Meanwhile, Romulo-Puyat asked the public to further support the government’s sustainable tourism efforts, not only in key destinations but in all areas to continually drive inbound traffic and spread the benefits of tourism to the countryside.

“After all, tourism is everybody’s business,” she pointed out.

According to the latest DOT data, South Korea remains the top tourist market with 1,113,274 arrivals followed by China with 1,038,409. The United States with 663,116, Japan with 382,634 and Taiwan with 192,195 followed at third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

Completing the top 12 markets are Australia (164,378), Canada (146,000), United Kingdom (125,371), Singapore (94,061), Malaysia (84,815), India (80,383) and Germany (62,179).

Earlier, a ranking official of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) lauded the government’s efforts in unlocking potentials of travel and tourism in the country.

“You’ve got a government that’s 100 percent committed to it right from the president and from all the way down, you have a brilliant secretary who’s passionate about grassroots support for local people, all the great things about the Philippines, your food, your culture, your cuisine, your culinary aspect, and obviously having spent time in the agriculture and fisheries, she’s really got that understanding,” WTTC regional director for the Asia Pacific and the Middle East Nigel David told reporters in a recent interview.

“You know what you need to do so I think you’re well placed as a country to continue this success,” he added. (PNA)