MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced on Tuesday, that it raked in more than P2.7 billion in revenues from services in 2012 due to the big surge in foreign tourists visiting the country.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said that from January to December last year, the bureau’s collection totaled P2.728 billion, five percent more than its target of P2.5 billion and 14 percent higher than the 2012 revenue.
Records showed that collection last year averaged more than P200 million a month, except in February when it collected P193 million. The bureau registered its highest revenue in January when it collected more than P216 million.
At least 1.77 billion of the bureau’s income last year was collected at the main office in Intramuros, Manila, while P956 million was remitted by the different immigration field offices across the country.
David attributed the increase in the agency’s income to the large number of foreigners who entered the country last year.
The Department of Tourism had monitored 3.83 million arrivals from January to November last year, mostly from South Korea, United States, Japan, China and Taiwan. It has yet to post official numbers for the entire year.
David noted that majority of these tourists opted to apply for various immigrant and non-immigrant visas with the bureau. Many of them were either expatriates, students or those married to Filipinos.
“Our collection from immigration fees is steadily rising and that again indicates that the Philippines is fast emerging as a favored tourist and investment destination in the Asia-Pacific,” he said.
He also reminded bureau officials to ensure that “all fees due the government should be collected, receipted and accounted for.’
The BI chief was also optimistic that the agency would further boost its revenue collection this year with the implementation of several programs designed to encourage overstaying aliens to legalize their stay.
Over the weekend, the agency announced that more and more foreign visitors were extending their vacation in the country, a strong indicator that the Philippines has remained to be a favorite tourist destination among travelers.
Records showed that last year, the bureau’s visa extension office processed and approved a total of 172,055 applications for extension of stay by foreign tourists. The figure was a 13-percent jump from the previous year’s 151,913 applications.
Application for tourist visa extensions peaked in January, August, July and December last year when more than 15,000 applications were processed each month. The lowest number of applications for visa extension was recorded in April when only more than 12,000 were approved.