Chinese tourists surge in PH after Duterte state visit

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — After President Rodrigo Duterte's visit in October 2016, Chinese tourists have found the Philippines an amiable tourist destination.

In fact, visa applications tripled, according to the Philippine Embassy in China.

"We were informed in China by the Philippine Embassy that applications for visa to the Philippines has really shot up from 400 a day, now it's about 1,400 a day," said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

Some Chinese nationals welcomed the Year of the Fire Rooster, also the Spring Break, in famous tourist destinations in Manila like Intramuros and Luneta.

Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jinhua, during the Chinese New Year celebration in Binondo Saturday, credited Duterte's "successful" state visit in China, which may enhance trade, investments and tourism  between the two countries.

According to data from the Department of Tourism, around 630,000 Chinese tourists visited the Philippines from January to November 2016.

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This makes China the third country of origin of tourists in the Philippines, next to South Korea and the United States.

But the influx of Korean tourists into the Philippines  may be affected by the murder of Korean businessmen Jee Ick Joo, which is still under investigation, according to Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo.

"If in case medyo babagsak yung tourist arrivals, we will focus on other emerging markets like we focus on India, we focus on Dubai and other markets," Teo said.

The administration is hoping to attract 7 million tourists this year. DOT launched on Thursday a video campaign highlighting Filipino hospitality, which will be shown locally and abroad.