• China-Philippines relations

China-Philippines relations (Photo : Getty Images)

As China and the Philippines decided to settle the South China Sea issue in an amicable manner, the Philippines' Department of Tourism (DOT) sees that there will be a steady influx of visitors from China in the next five years.

The Philippines' islands have seen a dramatic increase of tourists from 491,000 in 2015 to 676,000 in 2016. The increase in visitors is due to the relaxed approach to the dispute over the Scarborough Shoal.

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The tourism department also said that tourists are more interested in the Philippines now that Beijing lifted the travel ban against the country.

China sends the third largest number of tourists to the Philippines. Tourists in the country are predominantly American and South Korean, but Chinese tourists will have the most impact economically.

"Consider also that the population of Korea is so small compared to China. China consistently could be the single biggest driver of this market," said David Leechiu, CEO of Leechiu Property Consultants.

Leechiu said that China and the Philippines are now considered as close allies or "best friends forever."

"Before, they [Chinese authorities] were preventing people from going to the Philippines because of geopolitical issues. But now, they're back. That's why there's a big jump from 2015 to 2016," the chief executive claimed.

"The arrival volume of 676,000 is actually just 1.7 percent of all the Chinese that traveled last year. We can grow this number 10 times, yet, it still won't mean anything for the Chinese. That's how big China is as a tourism market," he said.

The property mogul praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for prioritizing the partnership with China, which is expected to bring much development to other sectors in the economy.

In the first quarter of 2017, tourists have contributed to a total of Php21.7 billion in revenues to the Philippines and showed a significant increase from previous years.