More than 3.5 million foreigners visited or entered the country this year, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported Wednesday.

Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. in a statement said that as of Dec. 20, a total of 3,580,647 foreigners had entered the country, 128,979 more or 3.7-percent higher than the 3,451,668 who arrived from January to December last year.

They arrived at different ports of entry but mostly of them at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country’s premier port.

David said the numbers would climb further as the figures do not include arrivals from December 21 to 31.

He said this year’s arrivals included tourists, investors, expatriates, students and balikbayans (those of Filipino ancestry) with foreign passports.

The immigration bureau said the number of foreign arrivals rose despite the travel advisories issued in late 2010 by foreign governments warning their citizens against going to the Philippines due to terror threats. Last June, the United States issued another travel advisory against the Philippines, warning of likely terror attacks.

Acting BI immigration regulation chief Danilo Almeda said that, based on the statistics, the advisories “did little to dampen foreigners’ interest in the Philippines.”

Almeda also said that in the same period, returning Filipino travelers totaled 3.83 million, bringing the total number of international travelers who arrived this year to more than 7.4 million.

Statistics showed that Koreans topped the list with 882,804 arrivals, followed by 707,160 Americans, 373,335 Japanese, 271,703 Chinese, 171,544 Australians, 135,696 Taiwanese, 131,139 Britons, 129,802 Canadians, 94,361 Malaysians and 89,329 Singaporeans.


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4:07 am | Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Originally posted at 12:48 pm | Wednesday, December 28, 201