MANILA, Philippines — Despite the global crisis, the number of foreigners who arrived in the country increased by four percent in August compared to the same month last year, according to statistics released by the Department of Tourism and the Bureau of Immigration.

Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan said the aggressive marketing approach taken by Tourism Secretary Joseph “Ace” Durano in marketing the Philippines as world-class tourist destination and the innovative scheme being implemented by the bureau contributed to the increase in foreigner arrivals.

Statistics showed that some 1.32 million foreigners arrived last month, up by 18,141 over the August 2008 arrivals.

From January to August, 3.95 million foreigners arrived, compared to the 3.943 million for the same period last year, according to a press statement of the Bureau of Immigration.

Americans topped the list of arrivals during the eight-month period with 460,514, followed by Koreans with 364, 304.

Also in the top 10 list were Japanese, 220,833; Chinese, 146,361; Australians, 84,967; British, 81,699; Canadians, 75,883; Taiwanese, 57,281; Malaysians, 45,555 and Singaporeans with 41,521.

Libanan lauded Durano for his innovative approach in providing a comprehensive planning framework for the development of tourism, particularly in turning various venues in the provinces into prime tourist destinations.

He said the bureau has continuously wooed foreign visitors through programs like the visa issuance made simple (VIMS), pre-arranged visa upon arrival and the special visa for employment generation (SVEG).

The programs, he said, have made it easier for foreigners to stay in the country and even do business or work here.

“With the success of our team-up with the DOT, we are hopeful that more foreigners will visit the country in the remaining months of 2009,” Libanan added.