International Tourism Day: New Trade Opportunities with Digitalization of the Tourism Sector

Number of Spanish Tourists Visiting the Philippines on the Rise



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Bárbara Apraiz, Executive Director of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, with the speakers at the forum Tourism and Digital Transformation



The Spanish Chamber of Commerce celebrated International Tourism Day last Thursday, the 27th of September, taking part in a forum that discussed the latest digital transformation and innovations in the tourism sector in an effort to show the attractive side of the industry to European investors and create new trade opportunities.


The tourism sector has been registering growth for more than half a century, from 25 million visitors in the 1950s to 1.3 billion at present time, employing more than 10% of the world population.


El sector turístico lleva  más de medio siglo en crecimiento, desde los  25 millones de visitas en los años 50, a los 1.300 millones de hoy en día, empleando a más del 10% de la población mundial.


Within this framework, Spain has become the second most-visited country in the world with more than 82 million foreigners visiting it in 2017, attracted by its natural reserves (the third in the world with the most number of such reserves) and its beaches awarded with the most number of Blue Flags for their high environmental and quality standards, aside from the its cultural and gastronomical attractions.  Last year, tourists spent a total of 87 million euros, an increase of 9% and 12% compared to the previous year.  With regard to the number of Filipino tourists visiting Spain, it peaked at 63,000 in 2016.  The most number of Spain´s visitors come from the United Kingdom, Germany and France, spending the most per visitor.


For its part, the Philippines is one of the countries with most potential which is demonstrated by its sustained annual growth.  In the month of July this year, more than 601,000 foreign visitors have been registered, while in the same month in 2017 the number reached 568,000.  With regard to the number of Spaniards visiting the country, they number around 45,000 monthly, a figure that has increased by 28.57% in 2017.  European visitors account for approximately 13% of total visitors.

The forum Tourism and Digital Transformation, organized by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, was held at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Manila with the coordination of the EU Delegation in the Philippines and Business Network, whose goal is to help European companies and SMEs to gain access to business opportunities in the ASEAN region.


The event was graced by local tourism officals such as Benito Bengzon Jr., Undersecretary of Tourism and Planning for Development and spokesman of the Department of Tourism, as well as Arnold Gonzales, from the Office of Tourism Promotion in the Philippines.


The celebration of the International Tourism Day dates back to 1979, when the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization, meeting at the Spanish coastal city of Torremolinos, decided to establish an international day to celebrate the economic, cultural and political importance of tourism.  It was agreed that it be celebrated every 27th of September in commemoration of the approval of the 1970 Statutes of WTO.  Besides, it coincides with the end of the peak vacation season in the northern hemisphere and the start in the southern hemisphere.



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