MANILA -- An easing of China's border restrictions would mean a huge boost to the country's tourism industry given the Asian nation's place as a top travel market, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) said.
At present, China imposes various control and quarantine measures amid a zero-Covid policy.
While there is no official information as to when it would fully relax restrictions, the PTAA said Manila like many other destinations continue to anticipate the country's full reopening.
"The China market, because they are not yet open, will be a big, huge comeback in the tourism industry. A lot of people, not only the Philippines are waiting for them, the world is waiting for that market. So I hope (that) soon they will open," PTAA president Michelle Taylan said during the launch of Emerging Outbound Destinations on Thursday.
In 2019, China was the Philippines second top source market, with around 1.7 million visitors recorded.
China was also in second place in terms of international traveller spend before the pandemic, but fell dramatically to 11th position in 2021, based on the data from the World Travel and Tourism Council.
It noted, however, that China would undoubtedly recover and even overtake the United States as the "world's biggest travel and tourism market by 2032".
The WTTC said China's Travel & Tourism sector's contribution to GDP could reach USD3.9 trillion by 2032, making it the world's most powerful Travel & Tourism market.
Taylan said there are "strong signs of recovery" in international tourism, citing the almost 250 million travelers recorded by the United Nations World Tourism Organization in the first five months of 2022.
This figure is bigger compared to the 77 million travelers for the same period last year.
The official said Turkey, Israel, and Egypt are among the emerging outbound destinations Filipinos are likely to visit as travel picks up.
"Though it is still far from pre-pandemic figures, the number of tourist arrivals are very encouraging and it clearly shows that the tourism industry is on the road to recovery and hopefully will reach the pre-pandemic levels of tourist arrivals in the near future," she said.
"I can say we are now at the peak recovery of tourism industry. I cannot compare it to pre-pandemic level because our situation right now is totally different from before but I can see the thirst from the people to still travel," she added. (PNA)