The Philippines has recorded its highest ever number of tourist arrivals in 2018, the Department of Tourism declared on Thursday.
The DOT said 7,127,168 foreign tourists arrived in the country last year, a 7.65-percent increase from the 6,620,908 recorded in 2017.
Citing figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization Tourism Barometer, the DOT said Philippine tourism outpaced the world average for tourism growth and the six-percent average growth rate for Asia and the Pacific.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the milestone was reached despite the six-month closure of the world famous Boracay island.
Puyat said the closure of the country's prime beach destination turned out to be a "blessing in disguise" for secondary tourism spots.
"It shows that turning off the faucet when the water is unclear can bring a fresher flow in just an unexpected period of time," Puyat said.
"With this, we have also seen the transition from a mass tourism perspective shifting into a high-value tourism direction that prioritize quality over mere quantity,” she added. —NB, GMA News