MANILA — The Department of Tourism (DOT) recently reported an increase in the tourist arrivals for April 2019 by 12.15 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

“International tourist arrivals in April 2019 reached 662,987, registering a 12.15 percent growth vis-a-vis 591,137 received last year,” it said, citing the latest data gathered by the agency.

Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat attributed the increase to the heightened marketing initiatives with the private sector and travel trade counterparts in the various markets as well as improved connectivity from new flights, additional frequencies and expanded capacity brought about by new and upgraded airports.

“We also attribute increased travel movement and consumption to continued efforts in developing new and existing tourism circuits all over the country in pursuit of sustainable tourism,” she added.

Puyat is optimistic the Philippines will attract more visitors to sustain the upward trend.

Data from the DOT showed that the top tourist market in April was China with 139,177 visitors, posting the highest increase since last year at 26.77 percent.

South Korea came second with 130,707, followed by the United States with 87,710, Japan with 57,724, and Australia with 28,683.

Meanwhile, the overall foreign visitor count for January to April 2019 totaled 2,867,551, or an increase of 8.57 percent compared to the 2,642,241 arrivals in the same period last year. – Joyce Ann L. Rocamora | PNA

Related: ABS-CBN interview of DOT Secretary Verna Romulo-Puyat