Chinese to boost tourist arrivals in PH–Roque
BAGUIO CITY—Expect the country’s tourist arrivals to double this year, thanks to China, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
Warming relations with the Asian superpower will bring as many as 5 million Chinese visitors, he said.
Direct flights from the port city of Xiamen in southeastern China to Palawan province will be opened this month, in addition to flights from another port city, Tianjin, in northeastern China.
“Before, they did not want to come here. For 2018, we expect more Chinese tourists to discover that it is more fun in the Philippines,” Roque told a news briefing here after the opening parade of the 23rd Panagbenga (Baguio Flower Festival).
Citing reports from the Department of Tourism, he said direct chartered flights from Xiamen to Puerto Princesa City in Palawan would start this month.
Another route from Tianjin to Puerto Princesa will follow, to “provide better air connectivity from major tourist source markets,” he said.
Last year, Chinese tourist arrivals increased to 968,447 from 675,663 in 2016.
During the Panagbenga opening on Thursday, grade school pupils, dressed in elaborate costumes depicting flowers, butterflies and birds, danced through downtown Baguio streets, along with drum and lyre bands, to provide a taste of the grand street dancing parade on Feb. 24 and the grand float parade on Feb. 25.
The festival also celebrates Baguio’s selection as the only Philippine city to join the creative cities network of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. —KARLSTON LAPNITEN
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