The Philippine tourism industry is bracing itself for an imminent travel ban by the Chinese government, as tensions over the disputed Scarborough Shoal continues to heighten.
This developed as Cebu Pacific said it had to suspend its twice-weekly charter service between Shanghai and Clark, "effective May 12" after a charter company in China cancelled its bookings.
By late afternoon Thursday, the Department of Tourism confirmed that some hotels have already reported booking cancellations from China.
Latest data from the DOT showed in the first quarter of 2012, Chinese tourists jumped by 77.53 percent to 96,455 from 54,332 in the same period last year. China is the Philippines' fourth largest market for tourists, accounting for 8.4 percent of market share from January to March 2012. (Originally published in InterAksyon.com, May 10, 2012.)