Philippines breaks tourism record in 2018

The Philippines is a archipelago made up of more than 7,000 islands. (File/AFP)
Updated 24 January 2019
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Philippines breaks tourism record in 2018

  • The country saw the number of visitors jump by nearly eight percent over the previous year
  • “The country’s top sun-and-beach destination has evidently become a blessing in disguise,” said Philippine tourism secretary

MANILA: The Philippines welcomed a record 7.1 million tourists to its beaches and dive spots in 2018, despite its most famous resort Boracay being shut half the year to recover, authorities said Thursday.
The archipelago nation of over 7,000 islands saw the number of visitors jump by nearly eight percent over the previous year, with South Koreans leading the way as its top tourists.
This growth came without much help from Boracay, which was closed for clean up from April to October after President Rodrigo Duterte branded it a “cesspool” fouled by reckless development.
Before the closure, the tiny island’s white sand beaches and turquoise waters were seeing some two million sun worshippers a year.
“The challenging act of closing down Boracay... the country’s top sun-and-beach destination has evidently become a blessing in disguise,” said Philippine tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
Other spots like natural paradise Palawan and beach destination Siargao island saw a jump in foreign tourists during the closure.
While South Korean led the pack with 1.6 million tourists, Chinese arrivals jumped by nearly 30 percent over 2017 to hit 1.3 million, the department of tourism said.
Americans visitors to the former US colony were at one million.


A man and his dog — bonded through Arab history

A video grab of the engravings discovered in northwestern Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
Updated 27 May 2019
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A man and his dog — bonded through Arab history

  • The image is the earliest evidence for the use of leashes to control dogs, with the earliest records previously found in Egypt, dating from 5,500 years ago

JEDDAH: Recent engravings discovered in northwestern Saudi Arabia depicting a man with a pack of hunting dogs are thought to be among the oldest records of man domesticating animals in the world.
Estimated to date back more than 9,000 years, the engravings, found at Shuwaymis and Jubbah, show a man drawing his bow and arrow surrounded by thirteen dogs, each with unique coat markings, and two on leads.
The area is home to over 1,400 rock carving panels, but these are now considered to be the crown jewel for the subject they convey, according to Maria Guagnin, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, which is overseeing the site in partnership with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.
Despite the fact that Guagnin and her team cannot precisely date the panel, the condition of the rock and the sequence of the engraving suggest they date back at least nine millennia. However, there remains conflict over when domesticated dogs first arrived on the Arabian peninsula, and whether these animals were descended from the Arabian wold, or dogs tamed by other peoples abroad, somewhere between 15,000 to 30,000 years ago.
Certainly, the image is the earliest evidence for the use of leashes to control dogs, with the earliest records previously found in Egypt, dating from 5,500 years ago.