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Foreign tourist arrivals rise nearly 10% despite weather

Niña P. Calleja - Philippine Daily Inquirer, Tuesday 3 June 2014

Despite the series of calamities that struck last year, the Philippines registered a 9.56 percent growth in foreign arrivals in 2013.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced Thursday that the country welcomed a total of 4,681,307 foreign visitors last year, surpassing the 4,272,811 arrivals recorded in 2012 by 9.56 percent.

But the figure was below the nation’s target of five million arrivals for the year. This was likely to due to the powerful earthquake, which killed more than 220 people and damaged facilities and roads in the popular tourist islands of Cebu and Bohol in October, and the destruction caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) in November, Tourism Department spokesman Benito Bengzon said.

The DOT nevertheless said last year’s performance “marked a new milestone for the tourism industry” as visitor arrivals demonstrated sustained growth despite the challenges of the previous year.