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PHL eyes 2 million Korean tourists by year-end

The Philippines is aiming to attract two million Korean tourists by the end of the year, Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Noe Albano Wong said during the 2019 Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea (Asean-ROK) Commemorative Summit in Busan, South Korea.

Citing a report by the Department of Tourism in Seoul, Wong said in a press release from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) that during the first nine months of 2019, the Philippines already exceeded the number of arrivals compared to the same period in 2018. 

Wong added that as of December 2018, the country reached 1,651,282 Korean tourists.

Koreans along with Chinese top visitor arrivals to the Philippines.

According to the Filipino envoy, multiple airlines servicing the Philippines and Korea are also the reason behind the attraction of more tourists.

Currently, there are 12 carriers plying the Philippines and South Korea: Asiana, AirAsia, Air Busan, Air Seoul, Jet Air, East Star, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines and Pan Pacific Airlines.

Currently, Wong said, there are approximately 93,000 South Koreans living in the Philippines for business, studies and leisure. He added that most Koreans go to the country to learn the English language.

He added that the Philippine government might push anew for the visa-free entry of Filipinos to South Korea.

According to Wong, Filipinos need a visa to enter South Korea, while South Koreans don't need one when staying in the Philippines for 30 days or less. — Ma. Angelica Garcia/BM, GMA News