MANILA -- The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is optimistic the country would hit its targeted 8.2 million foreign tourist arrivals even though only four days are left until the end of December 2019.
The projection came as the Philippine government on Friday welcomed its 8-millionth foreign tourist to Manila, a senior couple from Tokyo, Japan.
Although 8 million is short of 200,000 from the country's target, BI Ports Operations Division Acting Chief Grifton Medina is confident the country could chase the balance.
"In a day, the average arrivals of foreigners are 50,000. Actually, the influx in December is different. So it's not only a possibility, mabi-break siya (we will break it) because we haven't yet accounted the arrivals from ports via ships. Just for today, I think we could even breach a hundred thousand," Medina told reporters in an interview on the sidelines of the 8-millionth tourist's welcoming ceremony at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
"We haven't included yet the numbers from the Southeast Asian Games and the cruise. If we account the cruise, I think it will already cover," he added.
Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism's (DOT) hopes are up with Medina's words.
"We hope to reach the target. We have four days to go, so let's see," DOT Assistant Secretary Roberto Alabado III said.
While the detailed report of visitor arrivals for 2019 would be released early January, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat already hailed the record-breaking 8 million visitor arrivals, as it has bested the 7.1 million foreign visitors recorded in 2018.
“Breaching the 8 million mark is another milestone to celebrate, as it marks the unprecedented growth of the country’s tourism industry,” she said. (PNA)