Discussions are underway between the Philippines and Chinese tour operators and investors to open more direct chartered flights from China to Philippine provinces in a bid to lure more Chinese tourists, officials said Tuesday.
Philippine Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo said that Chinese investors have expressed their willingness to invest in new hotels and resorts in the Philippines, particularly in Puerto Princesa in Palawan province.
Teo was in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, from Sept. 10 to 14, to attend a meeting of the 22nd United Nations World Tourism Organization, an agency responsible for the promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism.
While in Chengdu, Teo said she met with Chinese tour operators to further boost the already thriving tourism routes between China and the Philippines.
Teo said the Philippine and Chinese tour operators are planning new chartered flights between Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, and Boracay, one of the Philippines' top tourist destinations, and Chongqing, a major city in Southwest China, to Boracay.
Moreover, Teo said that investors have also expressed interest to develop hotels and resorts in Puerto Princesa. She said the Chinese investors have recently made inspections around Puetro Princesa for possible development.
"With improved diplomatic relations between Manila and Beijing, we are assured of a more eloquent business and people-to-people exchanges between our two nations," Teo said in a statement last week.
She said the Philippines is trying to meet its target of a million Chinese tourists this year.
In a bid to lure more Chinese tourists and investors to the Philippines, the Philippine government said in August it will soon issue landing visas to Chinese nationals who wish to visit the Philippines.
At present, records from the Philippine Department of Tourism show that China is the Philippines' third largest source of foreign arrivals, after South Korea and the United States.
From January to July this year, the department said that the number of Chinese tourists to the Philippines totaled 454,962.