Manila, Philippines – The Philippines has successfully exceeded its target of 4.8 million international visitors for 2023, announced Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco on Tuesday, November 28. This remarkable achievement was disclosed during the 1st Philippine Golf Tourism Summit at the Grand Hyatt Manila, a key event that united leaders from the tourism and golf sectors to advance the burgeoning Philippine golf tourism industry.
As of November 27, the country has welcomed a total of 4,822,530 international visitors, with foreign tourists making up 91.88% (4,430,725) of this number. The remainder consists of returning overseas Filipinos, accounting for 8.12% (391,805) of the arrivals. South Korea leads as the primary source of foreign visitors, contributing 26.37% of the total, followed by the USA, Japan, China, and Australia.
Secretary Frasco attributed this success to the support from the Marcos Administration, highlighting tourism as a key component of the Philippines’ economic revival and inclusive growth. Under President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.’s guidance, the National Tourism Development Plan 2023-2028 has been instrumental in increasing connectivity and equal opportunities in tourism development and promotions. The sector has already generated PHP404 billion in foreign visitor receipts, bolstering the national economy and providing employment to over 5.35 million Filipinos in the tourism industry.
The Philippines’ rise in tourism is also credited to various initiatives by the DOT, such as liberalizing visa policies, improving tourist facilities, and promoting diverse tourism sectors including cruise, medical, gastronomy, sports, and cultural tourism.
The focus of the summit was the untapped potential of golf tourism. With over 100 golf courses spread across the nation, including the historic Santa Barbara Golf Course in Iloilo Province, the Philippines is poised to become a global hub for golf tourism. The summit, organized by the DOT’s Office of Product Development of Golf Tourism and Special Projects, brought together experts and stakeholders to discuss strategies and policies to enhance this sector.
Notable panelists at the summit included Business Mirror Golf Editor Mike Besa, Outlast Sports and Entertainment CEO Salauddin SS, Philippine Tour Operator Association President Fe Abling-Yu, and Lipa, Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste. They contributed insights on the potential and marketing of golf tourism, integrating it with the broader tourism industry.
Secretary Frasco expressed optimism that the summit would serve as a catalyst for informed strategies and unified national policies to further develop golf tourism, aligning it with local initiatives across the country. This milestone marks a significant step in the Philippines’ journey towards becoming a leading destination in global tourism, with golf playing a pivotal role in this vision.