Department of Tourism-National Capital Region director Woodrow Maquiling Jr.

MANILA— The Department of Tourism (DOT) is training Filipino tour guides to further cater to the growing numbers of Chinese tourists in the Philippines, a ranking official bared Tuesday.

“We’re already in the process of accepting applications for our Mandarin tour guide training. It’s a month-long program where we actually train our tour guides in the Mandarin language,” DOT-National Capital Region Director Woodrow Maquiling Jr. said in a media interview.

“Our top market is Chinese aside from Koreans and we are getting a lot of Chinese tourists so it’s really important that our tour guides can speak Mandarin,” he added.

For the first half of 2019, Maquiling said 16 out of 20 tour guides were already certified, with the second batch of trainees starting their language courses in October.

The rapid growth in Chinese tourists is evident with 1,059,788 Chinese nationals visiting the country last year, about 30.71 percent higher than the numbers in 2017.

To note, figures for the first seven months of 2019 nearly surpassed the 2018 Chinese arrivals at 1,038,409, according to the latest data from DOT. (PNA)