BORACAY
Boracay beach resort, Philippines. (Photo: Photo by ttboram/pixabay)

Chinese tourists are very important to the survivability of resorts and other businesses in the Philippines. In fact, "without them, our businesses will be dead during the months of July to September," Sally, a resort owner in Boracay, told the Business Mirror.

Hotel and resort operators are urged to take advantage of the influx of Chinese tourists in the country by keeping track of new flight deals between Chinese and Philippine airlines, including the use of online and mobile payment systems (like PayMaya and WeChat Pay, which are popular among Chinese tourists), a real estate agency firm said.

One of the major drivers of growth to the Philippines' thriving hotel business and tourist spending is the steady influx of tourists from China. "In our opinion, that's a key contributor to rising hotel occupancy and tourist spending," Colliers International Philippines research manager Joey Roi Bondoc, disclosed in a market report.

Bondoc said that "rising disposable incomes, relaxed visa rules, and aggressive promotions of low-cost flights" are key contributors to increasing hotel occupancy in the country. For instance, total hotel occupancy from Metro Manila alone reached 71% in the first six months of 2019, compared to 67% occupancy last year.

Despite the confusion regarding the suspension of new flights to Kalibo and Caticlan by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), and its subsequent lifting, a big volume of tourists on the resort island, renowned globally for its powdery white sand beach, were mostly Chinese and Koreans, Business Mirror reported.

Figures released by the Department of Tourism show that tourists from mainland China grew more than 30% in the first half of this year to 734,779, making them the Philippines' second-biggest source of international arrivals. This surge in tourist numbers has prompted property developers to build more 3- to 4-star hotels, Bondoc said.

The DOT is projecting 1.64 million increase in Chinese tourists for this year, up nearly 47% from arrivals last year. Double Dragon (DD), one of the property developers that has been upbeat by the surge of Chinese travelers, is building more Hotel 101 and Jinjiang Brand hotels across the Philippines in response to the influx.

Meanwhile, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat pointed out recently that only 8.1% of the 1.11 million Chinese tourists who arrived in the country in 2018 were given Visas Upon Arrival (VUA), which was 91,260 of the total arrivals.