The Philippines is getting closer to achieving its target of 4.8 million foreign tourist arrivals before the end of the year.

As of Nov. 23, the country has welcomed 'an estimated 4.76 million international visitors,' said Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco.

The figure is equivalent to 99.16 percent of the DOT's 2023 target for international arrivals, she noted.

'With great optimism and the country's ability to achieve new targets, and with the continued drive and collaborative action between government and the private sector, we hope to be able to recover our pre-pandemic numbers sooner than what has been projected,' Frasco said during the annual meeting of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) at the Lanson Place Mall of Asia on Nov. 24.

The DOT has yet to provide more details on international arrivals this year.

In previous statements, the DOT said South Korea, United States, Japan, China, Australia, Canada, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Singapore and Malaysia were so far the Philippines' top sources of tourists.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), an attached agency of the DOT, pledged it would work on making the Philippines the 'preferred destination for sustainable, diverse and enjoyable travel,' according to its chief operating officer Marga Nograles.

TCP president Bob Zozobrado acknowledged the DOT's guidance in helping revive the tourism industry from the COVID-19 pandemic, saying 'we can be assured that the tourism industry will continue to prosper.'

He added, 'We have survived a very difficult chapter in our existence as industry professionals. But the next chapter is going to be more exciting because next chapter, we are ready for whatever challenges there are and we will survive all those challenges.'

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