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Philippines relies on S. Korea, returnees for tourism revival.
The Philippines has long been a popular tourist destination, known for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and friendly people. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the country’s tourism industry, with international arrivals dropping by more than 80% in 2020. As the country looks to revive its tourism sector, it is turning to two key sources: South Korea and Filipino returnees.
South Korea has long been a significant source of tourists for the Philippines, with more than 1.6 million South Koreans visiting the country in 2019. However, the pandemic has severely impacted travel between the two countries, with South Korea imposing strict travel restrictions and the Philippines closing its borders to foreign tourists. Despite these challenges, the Philippines is working to rebuild its relationship with South Korea, with the two countries recently signing a memorandum of understanding to promote tourism cooperation.
Under the agreement, the Philippines and South Korea will work together to develop tourism products and services, promote joint marketing campaigns, and exchange information and expertise. The goal is to attract more South Korean tourists to the Philippines and encourage them to stay longer and spend more money. The Philippines is also looking to tap into South Korea’s growing interest in eco-tourism, with plans to develop sustainable tourism projects in partnership with South Korean companies.
Another key source of tourism for the Philippines is Filipino returnees. Many Filipinos who work overseas have been returning home due to the pandemic, and the government is looking to capitalize on this trend by promoting domestic tourism. The Department of Tourism has launched a campaign called “Wake Up in the Philippines,” which encourages Filipinos to explore their own country and support local businesses.
The campaign highlights the country’s diverse attractions, from the beaches of Boracay and Palawan to the rice terraces of Banaue and the historic city of Vigan. It also emphasizes the importance of responsible tourism, encouraging travelers to respect local cultures and the environment. The campaign has been well-received, with many Filipinos taking advantage of the opportunity to explore their own country and support local businesses.
While the road to tourism recovery in the Philippines may be long and challenging, the country is taking steps to rebuild its industry and attract visitors once again. By working with South Korea and promoting domestic tourism, the Philippines is laying the groundwork for a brighter future for its tourism sector. With its natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality, the Philippines has much to offer visitors, and it is only a matter of time before tourists return in greater numbers.