Chinese ambassador highlights sharp decline in tourist arrivals to Philippines

“We are pleased to see that people-to-people exchanges have rapidly recovered following the pandemic. But there is still room for improvement compared to pre-pandemic levels,” Ambassador Huang remarked.

The Chinese Ambassador to Manila, Huang Xilian, highlighted a significant decline in Chinese tourist arrivals in the Philippines compared to pre-pandemic levels. Huang Xilian, the Chinese Ambassador to Manila made this observation during the inauguration of the Chinese Visa Application Service Center in Makati City on Thursday, shedding light on the challenges the tourism sector faces amidst the global uncertainties.

In his opening speech, Ambassador Huang pointed out that in the year 2019, nearly 1.8 million tourists from China visited the Philippines. However, the figures for 2023 reveal a sharp contrast, with tourist arrivals from China descending to just over two hundred thousand. The notable drop emphasizes the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel and tourism.

“We are pleased to see that people-to-people exchanges have rapidly recovered following the pandemic. But there is still room for improvement compared to pre-pandemic levels,” Ambassador Huang remarked, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts to revive and strengthen tourism ties between China and the Philippines.

The decline in Chinese tourist arrivals is a consequence of various factors, including travel restrictions, safety concerns, and the evolving global situation. The pandemic-induced disruptions have reshaped the dynamics of international tourism, forcing countries to adapt to new norms and navigate challenges associated with the recovery process.

The inauguration of the Chinese Visa Application Service Center in Makati City is seen as a step toward facilitating smoother travel processes, contributing to the gradual resurgence of tourism. The Chinese Ambassador, Huang Xilian also noted that there is an accelerating demand for Chinese visas, which resulted in the creation of a visa application center by the embassy. He also stated, “The enthusiasm of Filipinos to visit China and the demand for Chinese visas has been growing fast over the years.” Both nations recognize the significance of tourism as a bridge that connects people and promotes mutual understanding.

China and the Philippines are natural partners for geographical proximity and close kinship, and enjoy close people-to-people exchanges, says Huang. He also added that they hoped that the two countries would meet each other halfway to maintain the correct direction of bilateral relations.