Tourism in the Philippines

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Boracay, named as one of the best islands in the world by numerous travel magazines.[1]

Tourism is one of the major contributor to the economy of the Philippines, contributing 5.9% to the Philippine GDP in 2011.[2] The Philippines is an archipelagic country composed of 7,107 islands. The country's rich biodiversity is the main tourist attraction of the Philippines.[3] Its beaches, mountains, rainforests, islands and diving spots are among the country's most popular tourist destinations. The country's rich historical and cultural heritage is also one of the attractions of the Philippines.

Since 2010, South Korea has been the largest source of visitors to the Philippines. In 2013, a total of 1.17 million South Koreans visited the Philippines. It is followed by the United States, Japan, China, Australia, Taiwan, and Canada.[4] In 2013, the country attracted 4,681,307 visitors.[4]


El Nido, famous for its majestic karst limestone formations[5]

The Philippine tourism industry flourished in the 1970s and early 1980s but declined in the mid 1980s, with the average length of tourist stay falling from 12.6 days in earlier years to 8.9 days in 1988. In 1987, tourism growth was slower in the Philippines than in other Southeast Asian countries. About 1.2 million tourists visited the Philippines in 1992, which was a record high in the number of tourist visits since 1989.

In 2000, the Philippines' tourist arrivals totaled 2.2 million. In 2003, it totaled 2,838,000, a growth of almost 29%, and was expected to grow as much as 3.4 million in 2007. In the first quarter of 2007, the tourist arrival in the Philippines grew as much as 20% in same period last year. In 2011, the Department of Tourism recorded 3.9 million tourists visiting the country,[6] 11.2 percent higher than the 3.5 million registered in 2010.

In 2012, the Philippines recorded 4.27 million tourist arrivals, after the Department of Tourism launched a widely publicized tourism marketing campaign titled "It's More Fun In the Philippines".[7]

The tourism industry employed 3.8 million Filipinos, or 10.2 per cent of national employment in 2011, according to data gathered by the National Statistical Coordination Board. In a greater thrust by the Aquino administration to pump billion[clarification needed] to employ 7.4 million people by 2016, or about 18.8 per cent of the total workforce, contributing 8 per cent to 9 per cent to the nation's GDP.[8]



Tourism Statistics[9]
Year Foreign
1996 1,049,367
1997 1,222,523
1998 1,149,357
1999 1,170,514
2000 1,992,169
2001 1,796,893
2002 1,932,677
2003 1,907,226
2004 2,291,347
2005 2,623,084
2006 2,843,335
2007 3,091,993
2008 3,139,422
2009 3,017,099
2010 3,520,471
2011 3,917,454[6]
2012 4,272,811[10]
2013 4,681,307[11]
2014 4,833,368[12]
2015(Jan-April) 1,815,202[13]

Top 10 international visitors[edit]

Rank Country 2011 2012 2013 2014
1  South Korea 925,204 1,031,155 1,165,789 1,175,472
2  United States 624,527 652,626 674,564 722,750
3  Japan 375,496 412,474 433,705 463,744
4  China 243,137 250,883 426,352 394,951
5  Australia 170,736 191,150 213,023 224,784
6  Singapore 137,802 148,215 175,034 179,099
7  Canada 117,423 123,699 131,381 143,899
8  New Zealand 181,738 216,511 139,099 142,973
9  Malaysia 91,752 114,513 109,437 139,245
10  United Kingdom 112,106 113,282 122,759 133,665


Crisologo Street in Vigan

An archipelago composed of 7,107 islands, the Philippines offers attractions such as the white sand beaches of Boracay, shopping centers of Metro Manila, rice terraces of Ifugao, diving sites of Palawan, forests of Bohol, heritage houses in Vigan, and the cultural attractions of Cebu and Manila.

The island of Luzon is considered the political and economic center of the Philippines. The economy of Luzon is centered in Metro Manila, the national capital region. Manila was ranked 11th most attractive city for American shoppers out of 25 Asia Pacific cities by a Global Blue survey in 2012.[14] Shopping malls can be found around the metropolis, especially in the business and financial districts of Makati, Ortigas and Bonifacio Global City. Despite the rise of modern shopping malls, traditional Filipino shopping centers such as flea markets and bazaars still remain around the metropolis.

The Visayas, the central island group of the Philippines, is the heart of the country's biodiversity. The most popular beach destination in Visayas is Boracay: the island is popular for its pure white sand beaches and has been a favorite island destination for local and foreign visitors.[15][16] In 2012, Boracay received the "best island" award from the international travel magazine Travel + Leisure.[17][18] Aside from its white sand beaches, Boracay is also a popular destination for relaxation, tranquility and an exciting nightlife.[19]

Mindanao, the southernmost island of the Philippines, is known for its mountain ranges; it is one of the best climbing destinations in the Philippines. Mindanao is home to the country's highest mountain, Mount Apo. On average, it takes two days to reach the summit. The mountain has a wide range of flora and fauna, including over 272 bird species, 111 of which are endemic to the area, including the national bird, the Philippine eagle.[20] Mount Apo has become a popular hiking destination for mountain climbers.[21]



Metro Manila's central business district
  • Iligan City is known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls because of the numerous waterfalls located within its area. There are about 23 waterfalls in the city. The most famous as well as the city's major landmark, is the Maria Cristina Falls. It is also the primary source of electric power of the city, harnessed by Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant. Waterfall hopping is one of the popular activities of ecotourists in Iligan City.
  • Laoag is the northern gateway of the Philippines. The city is a popular stop for travelers going to the white sand beaches of Pagudpud, the World Heritage Site of Paoay Church and to the town of Bangui, where the Bangui Windmills can be located.
  • Tagaytay is one of the country's top tourist destinations due to its cool climate, natural scenery and scenic views of the Taal Lake. Because of its proximity to Metro Manila, the city has been a favorite weekend destination for travelers.
  • Vigan is the best preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. This historical city in northern Philippines is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was named as one of the New7WondersCities.

Beaches and Islands[edit]

Alona Beach in Panglao Island, Bohol.

As a tropical country with a long coastline and with more than 7,107 islands, the Philippines offers a wide selection of beaches and islands around its archipelago. One of the most popular and visited beach destinations in the country is Boracay. Other popular beach destinations include:

National parks and nature reserves[edit]

Batanes Castle or Idjang

Other places of interest[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Boracay named 2012 world's best island". ABS-CBN News. January 26, 2013. 
  2. ^ Contribution of Tourism Industry to the Economy posts 5.9 percent in 2011 published by the National Statistical Coordination Board; accessed 2013-09-27.
  3. ^ "Natural Resources and Environment in the Philippines". (n.d.). eTravel Pilipinas. Retrieved January 22, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "The Philippines Hosted 4.7 Million International Visitors in 2013". Department of Tourism. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Philippines' best beaches and islands". CNN Travel. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b [1]
  7. ^ "It's More Fun in the Philippines official website". 
  8. ^ Calderon, Justin (5 March 2013). "Philippine tourism to create 3.6m jobs". Inside Investor. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Department of Tourism (Philippines), Tourism Statistics, retrieved June 8, 2012 
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ "The Philippines Hosted 4.7 Million International Visitors in 2013". Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Tourism Industry Performance for 2014". Retrieved February 21, 2015. 
  13. ^ "June 16, 2015". 
  14. ^ "Manila 11th most attractive shopping destination in Asia Pacific –study". Yahoo! Philippines. Retrieved March 26, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Philippines' Boracay attracted 1.36 million tourists in 2013". Xinhua. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Boracay attracted record 1.36 million despite 'Yolanda'". PhilSatr. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  17. ^ "BORACAY named 2012 No.1 World’s Best Island". Boracay Beach Live. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Boracay named world's 2nd best beach". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved March 30, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Relaxation, nightlife both more fun in Boracay". Yahoo! Philippines. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Profile - Mt. Apo Natural Park". Philippine Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau. Retrieved on April 25, 2014.
  21. ^ "Climbing to the top of the Philippines". BBC Travel. Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Cagayan de Oro’s White Water Rafting". Philippine Postal Corporation. June 18, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  23. ^ "A Survival Guide for Couple Vacation in Puerto Princesa City". Our Travel Dates. October 15, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Nine new sites inscribed on World Heritage List". UNESCO. Retrieved 2014-07-06. 
  25. ^ "Taal Volcano, world's smallest active volcano". Go Backpacking. January 26, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Sagay Marine reserve wows guvs". November 22, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 

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