Bacolod City and Negros Occidental initially recorded 1.6 million tourist arrivals in 2017, that comprise about 30 percent of the total foreign and domestic visitors in Region 6, records from the Department of Tourism showed.
The partial record presented by DOT Regional Director Helen Catalbas yesterday showed that, Western Visayas had 5,436,720 tourist arrivals last year, which is 300,000 higher thanthe 2016 record that was around 5.1M.
Catalbas was in the city to discuss trends and updates on tourism, business, and hospitality management education in the region at the #7NEWJAUNDERS national summit held yesterday at the L'Fisher Hotel, Bacolod City.
She said the report comprised 95 percent of the total tourist arrivals in the region as they are still waiting for other LGUs, especially those who are in the far-flung areas, to submit theirs.
The tourist arrivals, consisting of 78 percent domestic tourists, 21 percent foreign, and 1 percent overseas Filipinos, gave the region about P120.8 billion worth of tourist receipts.
Koreans ranked first in the top 5 foreign tourist markets of Western Visayas with 386,986, or a market share of 33.64 percent, followed by Chinese nationals with 385,464 or 33.51 percent, Americans with 42,854 or 3.73 percent, Taiwanese with 42,445 or 3.69 percent, and Australians with 24,382 or 2.12 percent.
The monitoring of records is not done directly by DOT as it lacks manpower, that is why every LGUs submits them to their respective provincial government offices before it reaches the regional tourism office, Catalbas said.
Records also showed that Aklan, where Boracay Island is located, has the highest arrivals with 2,162,663 or 40 percent of the total records, followed by Iloilo City with 857,068, Negros Occ. with 836,872, and Bacolod City with 831,687.
Combined records of Bacolod City and Neg. Occ. comprised the 30 percent of the total regional record or 1,668,559 in tourist arrivals.
Bacolod visitors were 9 percent foreign tourists, and 91 percent domestic, while Negros tourists were 4 percent foreigners and 96 percent domestic.
The province of Iloilo recorded 301,011 tourist arrivals in 2017, while Antique had 162,925, Capiz had 156,238, and Guimaras had 128,256 visitors.
Catalbas also said that the tourist arrival target for 2018 is 6.1M and they plan to create more events and strengthen tourism promotions of each province in the region.
Apart from strengthening established festivals, sports tourism could also boost the arrivals of tourists in Western Visayas, as the region is also one of the key sports destinations in the country, she added. *MLG
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