Chinese nationals applying for tourist and business-related visa at the Philippine embassy in Beijing have increased to 200 per cent.
The Philippine ambassador to China, Jose Santiago Sta. Romana, has attributed this rise to President's Duterte foreign policy announcement to align Philippines with China.
Sta. Romana said that travel and tour companies in China have increased their booking travels to the Philippines as there seems to be a growing demand in the China-Philippines travel market.
The Philippine government aims to double tourism arrivals this year and the problem right now is how to make it easier for the Chinese to process their visa to travel," Sta. Romana was quoted saying by The Philippine Star.
“We were out of the mainstream. The Chinese were touring Southeast Asia but not the Philippines during the period of our strained relations because the Chinese media coverage of the Philippines them was quite negative. Recently, the coverage of the Chinese media has been quite positive,” he said.
“(We) will hit one million (arrivals) this year, so we are just scratching the surface,” the ambassador said, noting that various consulates in China are now deluged with visa applications.
The increase in the number of applications also resulted in more workers hired for its consular sections.
From January to December 2016, around 675,663 visited the Philippines, which 37.65% higher than the previous years. Moreover, for January to February this year, a 25.42 percent increase was noted in the tourist arrivals record compared to the same period in 2016.
Early this week, a group of Filipino foreign policy experts flew to China to discuss with their counterparts how to collaborate and eventually create a bilateral body that will co-manage the South China Sea.