Region VI (Western Visayas)
Domestic tourists outnumber foreigners in WV
By Ime Sornito
Friday, January 18, 2019
ILOILO City – Domestic tourists outnumbered foreigners that visited Western Visayas last year, a partial report of the Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 6 showed.
The number of tourists reached 2,577,878.
Local visitors (1,880,475) surpassed foreign tourists (671,836) and vacationing overseas Filipinos (25,567).
According to DOT-6, the 32,571 other tourists had “unspecified residences.”
Among the foreign tourists, Chinese nationals had the most number at 244,373.
South Korean visitors reached 188,287 and American nationals, 13,947.
DOT’s target tourist arrivals for Western Visayas last year was 5.5 million.
The area with the most number of tourists was Aklan (1,023,863), followed by Bacolod City (489,736 – January to July 2018), Iloilo City (337,540 – January to June 2018), Negros Occidental (311,642 – January to October 2018), Capiz (159,562 – January to October 2018), Antique (88,232 – January to October 2018), Guimaras (87,209 – January to September 2018), and Iloilo province (80,094 – January to August 2018).
The number of tourist arrivals could still increase once all local government units (LGUs) would have submitted their reports, said Ma. Reda Astronomia, DOT-6’s senior tourism operations officer.
LGUs have until Jan. 25 to submit their reports.
In 2017, DOT recorded 5,852,937 tourist arrivals in Western Visayas, with Aklan having the most number at 2,220,821.
Iloilo City had 1,076,976; Negros Occidental, 892,199; Bacolod City, 831,687; Iloilo province, 310,878; Capiz, 229,195; Antique, 162,925; and Guimaras, 128,256.
For 2019, DOT-6’s target tourist arrivals is 6.1 million.
Boracay Island remains the top tourist destination in the region, said Astronomia.
In a related development, DOT-6 director Helen Catalbas said more tourism roads would lead to a booming tourism industry.
DOT and Department of Public Works and Highways’ Convergence Program on Tourism Road Infrastructure Projects (TRIP) will soon conduct a regional consultative workshop to present its 2018 accomplishments and updates on pending/upcoming projects.
Moreover, the improved Tourism Road Infrastructure Project Prioritization Criteria (TRIPPC) guidelines and indicative steps for submission of required documents will be discussed.
Catalbas said project proposals previously submitted and were not considered for fiscal year 2019 will be reassessed and revalidated for possible consideration under the 2020 listing.
“In 2018, 79 of the 168 proposed tourism road projects in Western Visayas were included in the General Appropriations Act amounting to P2.48 billion. These road projects made more tourism destinations accessible to tourists and provided livelihood in the community as tourism facilities begin to emerge with the influx of tourists,” said Catalbas.
Strong road networks often lead to better economy as investments continues to pour and micro, small and medium enterprises emerge, according to the director.
Roads also connect people, culture, heritage and traditions, she added.
“Air, land and sea connectivity is one of the competitive advantages of Western Visayas. Its strengthened linkage to more major hubs in the Philippines made Western Visayas accessible to more domestic and foreign tourists with 5.8 million tourists visiting the region in 2017 spending more than P128.45 billion in tourism facilities and products,” said Catalbas.
For 2019, there are 142 proposed road projects from the different legislative districts of Western Visayas./PN