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Tourist arrivals up 4 percent in August

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Tourist arrivals to the Philippines increased by 4 percent in August compared to the same amount last year, Tourist Secretary Ace Durano said.

Quoting data provided him by Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan, Durano said the country’s aggressive marketing approach had paid dividends in marketing the Philippines as a world-class tourist destination.

The tourism secretary said the increase in arrivals was partly due to innovations introduced by the Bureau of Immigration (BI), like the visa issuance made simple, pre-arranged visa upon arrival, and special visa for employment generation (SVEG), which have made it easier for foreigners to stay in the country and do business here.

Statistics showed some 1.32 million foreigners arrived in the country last month, up 18,141 over arrivals in August 2008.

Also from January to August, 3.95 million foreigners entered the country, compared to the 3.943 million for the same period last year, a BI statement said.

Americans topped the list of arrivals during this, with 460,514, followed by Koreans with 364,304. Others in the top 10 were Japanese, 220,833; Chinese, 146 361; Australians, 84,967; British, 81,699; Canadians, 75,883; Taiwanese, 57,281; Malaysians, 45,555 and Singaporeans with 41,521.

The increase in tourist arrivals was also noted by the nongovernmental organization National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (Naitas).

But Natias chairman emeritus Robert Lim Joseph warned that the Philippines could face sanctions from fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) if the country fails to comply before 2015 with the standardization pact on tourism that it signed.

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