The world is taking notice of the increasing number of Filipinos traveling abroad. With at least 5.7 million trips made in 54 countries and territories in 2016, Filipino tourists are expanding their geography and looking elsewhere to make another memorable trip.
We’ve compiled the 9 fast-emerging destinations* below that have seen an incredibly consistent increase of arrivals from the Philippines over the last two years. Some of them may be on your bucket list already:
No. 1 – Japan
The Land of the Rising Sun welcomed nearly 350,000 Filipinos last year. It’s one of the Top 5 most frequented destinations by Filipinos and is expected to continue to register double-digit growth thanks to its inherent charm, stickiness, and accessibility.
No. 2 – UAE (specifically, Dubai)
When Filipinos book a trip to the UAE these days, many would say they’re coming to relax and not just to work. In Dubai, Filipino arrivals rose by 20% last year and had the biggest increase of all source countries. Dubai is positioning itself in retail, entertainment, luxury travel, and recently, as a destination for “incentive trips” (reward travel given to the sponsor company’s best employees and clients).
No. 3 – Maldives
There is a certain charm to Maldives that appeal to Filipinos, even as more affordable local island destinations in Palawan are just around the corner. In 2016, Filipino tourist arrivals to Maldives grew by 38%.
No. 4 – New Zealand
Arrivals to New Zealand — most known for its Lord of the Rings attractions — nearly doubled from 2014. But the country is no longer just relying on Peter Jackson’s film sets to attract tourists. It has continually unveiled new ways to promote other activities and attractions, such as wine tourism, volcanic mud baths in Rotorua, skydiving, and a night stay inside a prison at The Jailhouse.
No. 5 – Argentina
With its capital Buenos Aires called the “Paris of South America”, Argentina’s out-of-this-world natural landscape has made it a bucket list destination for backpackers. Leading the list is Iguazu Falls, one of the world’s largest waterfall systems ; the Perito Moreno Glacier; and Tierra del Fuego, the gateway to Antartica.
No. 6 – Australia
Last year, Filipino tourists to Australia breached the 100,000 mark after a consistent annual growth of 19% over the last couple of years. With cheaper fares and more links to Australian cities, the Land Down Under has become the perfect destination to escape the Philippines when it gets too hot or cold (March-May is autumn in Australia, while December-February is summertime).
No. 7 – Switzerland
A growing number of Filipinos have been making their Swiss travel bucket list a reality, with 11% more travelers visiting the Alpine country.
No. 8 – Colombia
Aside from Argentina, a rising superstar in this part of the world is Colombia. The country has recently approved a peace accord to end a decades-old conflict against rebels, promising a new era of peace in a land most famous for coffee.
Among Colombia’s best destinations include the colonial cities of Cartagena and Bogota. For the adventurous, try Ciudad Perdida, an indigenous settlement which predates Machu Picchu. It takes a six-day hike to the destination. Read the list of places to go here.
No. 9 – Hong Kong
With nearly 800,000 Filipino travelers in 2016, Hong Kong is not likely to give up the No. 1 spot as the most popular destination for this source market. The Chinese territory, which rolled out a series of months-long promotion as part of its 20th anniversary after handover from the British, continues to welcome still a growing number of tourists with an annual average of 12% growth over the last 2 years.
Where can Filipinos go to in their next return to Hong Kong? Here’s a helpful list.
*The list only covers countries and territories with a consistent double-digit annual growth (at least 10%) over the last two years. Many which grew remarkably well in 2016 didn’t make it, but it is worthwhile to mention Papua New Guinea, Israel, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Thailand
Note: Oman’s growth was the faster than the 9 on the list; arrivals almost tripled in 2016 from 35,400 in 2014. Workalife is trying to verify with the Oman government on the breakdown by purpose of travel but has yet to receive a formal response.
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