Tourism in the Philippines
Tourism is one of the major contributor to the economy of the Philippines, contributing 5.9% to the Philippine GDP in 2011. The Philippines is an archipelagic country composed of 7,107 islands. The country's rich biodiversity is the main tourist attraction of the Philippines. 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. In 2013, the country attracted 4,681,307 visitors.
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, 11.2 percent higher than the 3.5 million registered in 2010.
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.
Top 10 international visitors
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. 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. In 2012, Boracay received the "best island" award from the international travel magazine Travel + Leisure. Aside from its white sand beaches, Boracay is also a popular destination for relaxation, tranquility and an exciting nightlife.
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. Mount Apo has become a popular hiking destination for mountain climbers.
- Metro Manila is the capital region of the Philippines and a major hub for business, entertainment, arts and culture. The City of Manila is notable for its cultural attractions like the Spanish colonial buildings in Intramuros and Fort Santiago, and the World Heritage Site of San Agustin Church. Makati, the region's financial center, is noted for its cosmopolitan culture.
- Cebu City is the Philippines' second city. Popular attractions in Cebu include monuments to Ferdinand Magellan's discovery of the Philippines like the Magellan's Cross and Magellan shrine and other Spanish relics like Fort San Pedro, Basilica of Santo Niño and Colon Street, the oldest street in the Philippines. The Sinulog festival in the city is also a major tourist draw.
- Baguio is considered the "Summer Capital of the Philippines" because of its cool weather caused by its high altitude. Burnham Park, Wright Park and Mines View Park are some of its famous landmarks. American-era buildings such as the Baguio Mansion House, Baguio Cathedral and the American Residence at Camp John Hay also serve as tourist attractions. The city is a popular stop for tourists going to the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, a World Heritage site, and the town of Sagada.
- Davao City is famous for Mount Apo, the country's tallest peak. Notable destinations in the city are the Philippine Eagle Center, Samal Island, Crocodile Park, and Malagos Garden.
- Angeles is notable for tourists destinations like Mount Pinatubo, Subic Bay, Mount Samat, Clark Expo, Paskuhan Village, and the old American military base at Fort Stotsenburg. Being only 90 kilometers north from Metro Manila, the city's Clark International Airport also serves as its second international gateway.
- Cagayan de Oro is famous for its whitewater rafting or kayaking adventures, that has been one of the tourism activity being promoted in the Cagayan de Oro River.
- 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.
- Iloilo City is one of the oldest cities in the Philippines. The city is popular for its historical attractions and old landmarks such as the Molo Church, Jaro Cathedral, Jaro Belfry, University of San Agustin, Central Philippine University and the old buildings at the Downtown area (Calle Real) and the world famous Dinagyang Festival.
- 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.
- Legazpi is the gateway to Mayon Volcano Natural Park. The city can also serve as a base for exploring the Cagsawa Ruins, Ligñon Hill Nature Park, Misibis Bay, and the whale watching town of Donsol.
- Puerto Princesa has been called the "Greenest City in the Philippines." The city's main tourist attraction is the Puerto Princesa Underground River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Other popular attractions in the city include beaches, island resorts, wildlife reserves, and diving spots.
- 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.
- Zamboanga is dubbed "Asia's Latin City" due to its Chavacano language, a creole language born from Spain. The city's main tourist spots include Fort Pilar, Zamboanga City Hall, and the pink sand beaches of Great Santa Cruz Island.
Beaches and Islands
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:
- El Nido
- Samal Island
- Panglao Island
- Mactan Island
- Bantayan Island
- Malapascua Island
- Coron Island
- Caramoan Peninsula
- White Island
- Puerto Galera
- Siargao Island
- Subic Bay
- Malawa Island
National parks and nature reserves
- Mount Hamiguitan - is a mountain range located between the Mati City and the Municipality of San Isidro in the province of Davao Oriental. The mountain and its vicinity has the most diverse wildlife populations in the country. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Banaue Rice Terraces- are 2000-year old terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao.
- Puerto Princesa Subterranean River- is an underground river that features a spectacular limestone karst landscape and represents a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. It has been chosen as one of the New7Wonders of Nature.
- Tubbataha Reef- is an atoll coral reef located in the Sulu Sea. It is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Apo Reef- is a series of coral reefs encompassing 34 square kilometers within the waters of Occidental Mindoro. It is the world's second-largest contiguous coral reef system and the largest in the country.
- Mayon Volcano- is an active volcano in the province of Albay, it is famous for its perfect cone shape.
- Chocolate Hills- is an unusual geological formation in Bohol which has over 1,260 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi).
- Mount Apo- is the tallest mountain in the Philippines and a popular destination for mountain activities.
- Baroque Churches of the Philippines- are four old churches located around the country built in the Spanish colonial times. Their unique architectural style is a reinterpretation of European Baroque by Chinese and Philippine craftsmen.
- Taal Volcano- is the world's smallest active volcano.
- Batanes Islands- is a province comprising ten islands that are located in the Luzon Strait.
- Hundred Islands- are islands scattered along the Lingayen Gulf with pocket beaches and coral reefs.
- Sagay Marine Reserve- is the largest marine reserve in the Philippines, covering an area of 32,000 hectares.
- Pagsanjan Falls- is one of the most famous waterfalls in the country. It is located in the province of Laguna and was declared as a national park in 1939.
- Biak-na-Bato National Park- is a 2,117 hectare protected area in San Miguel, Bulacan. It is centered on a mountain gorge sliced by the Balaong River, it has more than a hundred caves of varying sizes and crystalline mineral formations. The park is the site of the Republic of Biak-na-Bato, the first republic ever declared in the Philippines.
- Loboc River- is a river on Bohol which offers a vista of lush tropical vegetation such as nipa palms, coconut trees, banana groves, and bushes.
- Mount Pinatubo- is a volcano which erupted in 1991. After the major eruption a crater lake was formed called Lake Pinatubo.
Other places of interest
- Metro Manila: Intramuros, Fort Santiago, National Museum of the Philippines, Rizal Park, Manila Bay, Entertainment City, Paco Park, SM Mall of Asia, SM City North EDSA, La Mesa Dam, Museum of the Filipino People, Manila Ocean Park, Bahay Tsinoy, Casa Manila, Cultural Center of the Philippines
- North Luzon: Baler, Bangui Bay, Barasoain Church, Bolinao, Callao Cave, Cape Bojeador, Capones Island, Marcos Museum, Mount Arayat, Mount Data, Palaui Island, Paoay Church, Philippine Arena, San Antonio, San Juan, Santa Maria, Ilagan Sanctuary, Palanan, Sta. Ana, Pagudpud, Piat, Manaoag, Luna, Iguig
- South Luzon: Basilica de San Martin de Tours, Cagsawa Ruins, Calamba Rizal Shrine, Carabao Island, Camsur Watersports Complex, Catanduanes, Corregidor Island, Donsol, Enchanted Kingdom, Lake Caliraya, Mount Banahaw, Mount Bulusan, Mount Halcon, Nasugbu, Naujan Lake, San Juan, Sibuyan Island, Villa Escudero
- Visayas: Bakhawan Eco-Park, Bohol Churches, Capul Island, Carcar, Concepcion, Guimaras, Guiuan, Kalibo, Lake Danao, Miagao, Mount Kanlaon, Olango Islands, Pescador Island, Silay, Southern Leyte
- Mindanao: Agusan Marsh, Siargao, Fort Pilar, Glan, Lake Mainit, Lake Sebu, Limunsudan Falls, Malaybalay, Maria Cristina Falls, Mati, Mount Kalatungan, Mount Malindang, Tinuy-an Falls, Mount Apo, Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park
- Visa policy of the Philippines
- Arts of the Philippines
- Landmarks of the Philippines
- Culture of the Philippines
- Cuisine of the Philippines
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- Department of Tourism Philippines
- It's More Fun in the Philippines (Official Tourism Website)
- Philippine Department of Tourism (North America Website)
- The Best Tourist Spots in the Philippines (Philippines Website)