Tourist arrivals post 4-year high in February despite noise, threats: Palace

May 2, 2017 - 4:37 PM
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Philippine fiestas are known for being colorful, and showcase Filipino hospitality. For the gala dinner of the 30th ASEAN summit hosted by the Philippines, the chosen theme was "ASEAN FIESTA." File photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon

MANILA – Tourists are apparently undaunted by the political noise and the spate of travel advisories warning against going to the Philippines on account of alleged threats of violence, a Palace official said

The country posted in February its biggest number of tourist arrival in four years, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Tuesday.

The 579,000 tourists represent a 27.81 percent increase over the average for the same period in the last four years, and 5.36 percent over the numbers in February 2016.

Tourism remains a key pillar of the economy, Abella said, adding that the current drive to boost infrastructure with the “Build, Build, Build program” will greatly help tourism.

Malacañang is confident that the Tourism sector will grow even more with the infrastructure boost and other measures, he said.

“Foreign tourists chose to ignore the political noise and believe that it is really more fun in the Philippines,” said Abella.

The political landscape in recent weeks had been ridden with talk from rival camps of impeaching the two top leaders, President Duterte and Vice President Robredo, and with wrangling on policy among key Cabinet members.

In the past months, various countries have also issued travel advisories against travel to the country, especially the South, where the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group continues to hold both foreign and local hostages.