200% jump in Chinese visa applications for PH visit — envoy
BEIJING, China — The Philippine embassy here has recorded a 200 percent increase in visa applications among Chinese tourists and businessmen wanting to visit the Philippines.
Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana said the Chinese government had lifted all travel advisories on the Philippines.
Sta. Romana said there was a huge decline in Chinese tourists visiting the country “before we resolved the underlying issues in the South China Sea.”
“We were out of the mainstream. The Chinese were touring Southeast Asia but not the Philippines during the period of our strained relations because the Chinese media coverage of the Philippines them was quite negative. Recently, the coverage of the Chinese media has been quite positive,” he said.
The envoy said “the new foreign policy” and the “friendly approach” of President Rodrigo Duterte have helped tourism in the country.
“China, right now, constitutes a big demand of visas because of the boom in tourism and in business travel,” he said. “We will hit one million arrivals this year.”
He said consular offices in China were being deluged with visa applications from Chinese nationals.
From January to December 2016, 675,663 arrivals were recorded, which is 37.65 percent higher compared to 2015.
Meanwhile, a 25.42 percent increase in the number of tourist arrivals was recorded from January to February 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.
Duterte visited China on May 13-15 to attend the two-day One Belt, One Road Forum where he had a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. CBB
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