- PH ambassador said number of Chinese applying to visit country skyrocketing
- He predicted number of Chinese visitors to PH hitting one million for 2017
- He attributed boom to warmer ties, more positive coverage of PH by Chinese media
- He also expected easier entry, more job opportunities for Filipinos in China
MANILA, Philippines – The country’s main envoy to China said visa applications by Chinese to visit the Philippines have jumped to 200 percent.
Saying their consular offices were deluged with applications, Ambassador Jose Sta. Romana predicted the number of Chinese arriving to the country will hit one million this year.
“China, right now, constitutes a big demand of visas because of the boom in tourism and in business travel,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “We will hit one million arrivals this year.”
Sta. Romana attributed the boom to the more positive coverage by Chinese media of the Philippines brought on by warming ties between Beijing and Manila.
“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 then was quite negative. Recently, the coverage of the Chinese media has been quite positive,” he said.
Sta. Romana added that Filipinos can also expect an easier time entering into China, as well as more offers there.
“The Chinese middle class is growing real fast and there is a Chinese elite that is becoming more prosperous. And so they are able to pay higher salaries compared to what’s prevailing for example in Hong Kong,” he said.
Sta. Romana is set to meet a Chinese delegation this week for bilateral talks over the disputed West Philippine Sea.