Tourism assistant secretary Benito Bengzon said they have noted a rise in the number of tourists from the Russian Federation for the past years.
“We are seeing higher growth rate. We are optimistic it could reach 30 percent before the end of the year,” he said.
Bengzon said the DOT has been aggressively promoting the Philippines as an attractive destination to the Russian Federation market for the past months.
The DOT official said they have been sending a team composed of marketing representatives to conduct various tourism promotions in Russia.
At present, the Philippines also operates a marketing office through the so-called ACCESS Russia which is tasked to lure more Russian travelers.
For the first quarter of 2013 alone, arrivals from the Russian Federation already grew 35.3 percent to 3,442 from a year ago level of 2,544.
In end-2012, arrivals from Russia increased 26.73 percent to 4,514 from 3,562 in 2011.
It would be noted that normally, foreign arrivals are high during the summer months then a slump follows in the middle of the year and then picks up again in the last quarter.
Aside from Russia, tourists arrival from Eastern Europe such as Commonwealth Independent States (CIS) and Poland also increased 1.61 percent and 55.52 percent, respectively, during the first three months of the year.
Overall foreign tourists arrival jumped 10.76 percent to 1,271,579 in the first quarter of 2013 from 1,148,072 in the same period in 2012.
DOT data showed that Korea still topped the list of foreign tourists frequenting the Philippines in the first three months of 2013 at 25.83 percent or 328,454, followed by United States at 14.63 percent or 186,065, and third in terms of volume was Japan at 114,269 or 8.99 percent.
DOT targets 5.5 million foreign tourists arrival for 2013 and 10 million by 2016.