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‘Tipped for the Top’ – tourism triumphs on tropical terra-firma

This group of islands in South-East Asia benefits from an intense mix of peoples and cultures, making it a truly exciting melting-pot and the country's growing tourism and business sectors are a tribute to this. Figures recently released by the Department of Tourism (DoT) have shown that 2008 was a bumper year for the country – with a record number of arrivals – 3.14 million visitors, an increase of 1.5% on the previous year.

Not only this but interestingly, although South Koreans accounted for the highest number of visitors (recording an increase of 19.48% in the number of visitors in 2008), arrivals by Russian visitors were up even more significantly on 2007 figures – an increase of 34% year-on-year. As a good indicator of investor confidence, this huge increase in Russian arrivals is a significant sign for the country's economy, predicting an even brighter future, as Ace Durano, Secretary of Tourism for The Philippines, recognised,

"Tourism is seen to be one of the strongest propellers of the economy for the year ahead."

And with a great deal to offer, it is not hard to see why –  powder-white beaches, magnificent coral reefs offering some of the world's best diving, crystal clear waters, lush mangrove forests to name but a few of the great draws of these some 7,000 islands. With so much to offer and a growing tourist market, this is perhaps the ideal time to invest in property in the country, as Steve Worboys, Managing Director of Experience International comments,

"As soon as you set foot in The Philippines it is easy to see why it is often known as 'The Pearl of the Oriental Seas': it is a country of beauty and great potential for those looking to invest. As a relatively new emerging market, The Philippines' popularity is set to continue growing for many years to come and that is why now is a great time to buy into the boom, especially while property prices are relatively low and there are real bargains to be had – with excellent rental potential."