Greater than expected

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Thursday, February 27, 2014


CENTRAL Visayas welcomed a total of 3,292,606 visitors in 2013, surpassing the year’s original target of 3.03 million, according to a partial report released by the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7.

The number of arrivals last year grew by 12.45 percent from the 2.9 million visitors recorded in 2012.

Rowena Montecillo, DOT 7 regional director, said domestic tourism fueled the growth in arrivals, specifically in the fourth quarter of the year when twin calamities hit the region.

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake rocked Bohol and Cebu last Oct. 15. Three weeks later, super typhoon Yolanda hit many towns and cities in the Visayas, including 15 towns and Bogo City in northern Cebu.

Despite the calamities, total domestic arrivals in Central Visayas grew by 13.13 percent or 1,980,155 arrivals in 2013, against 1,750,385 in 2012. Foreign arrivals reached 1,304,233, up by 12.28 percent from the year before.

Total arrivals to Cebu stood at 2,462,794. That figure grew by 10.42 percent compared to the 2012 record.

Bohol welcomed 338,763 arrivals last year, while Negros Oriental logged 457,618 and Siquijor, 33,431.

More, except for Japan

All top 10 tourist source markets of the region sent more visitors, except for Japan. Arrivals from the region’s top two market declined by 1.60 percent or 199,816 last year.

South Korea remains the top tourist source market for the region. Its arrivals grew by 17.13 percent, from 449,856 arrivals in 2012 to 526,920 last year.

Total arrivals from the United States reached 115,093 or 10.46 percent higher than in 2012. This was followed by China, which slightly grew by 0.96 percent or 54,421 arrivals. Arrivals from Australia last year stood at 40,692, up by 19.69 percent.

Taiwan, the sixth top source market for Central Visayas, sent 25,734 visitors, up by 27.57 percent. Canada, meanwhile, posted the highest growth rate of the year at 55.63 percent, from 16,535 to 25,734 arrivals. Germany logged 25,435 arrivals; United Kingdom, 25,021; and France, 20,462.

Target for 2014: 3.6M arrivals

Russia, which was considered an “opportunity market”, sent 25.48 percent more arrivals, at 15,227.

Montecillo said the growth of these top markets stemmed from the aggressive tourism campaigns both in the local and international travel markets.

This year, DOT 7 expects to welcome 3.6 million arrivals, 4.4 million by 2015 and 5.8 million by 2016.

Visitor arrivals in the Philippines reached 4,681,307 in 2013, surpassing the previous year’s record of 4,272,811 by 9.56 percent, according to DOT.

Koreans remain the biggest source market with total arrivals at 1.17 million, up by 13 percent.

Total revenues gained from inbound visitors for the year was estimated at $4.40 billion, equivalent to P186.15 billion, up by 15.1 percent.

The overall average length of stay of visitors in 2013 remained at 9.6 nights.

Foreign visitors stayed for an average of 9.4 nights while overseas Filipinos stayed an average of 18.8 nights.

Big spenders

Average daily expenditure of inbound tourists during the year increased by 8.7 percent to $101.12 from the $92.99 recorded in 2012. Koreans were the biggest spenders at $140.81 per day while visitors from the United States stayed the longest, on average, at 13.4 nights.

Based on per capita spending of the Philippines’ top markets, visitors from Canada recorded the biggest spent at $1,393.68. They were followed by visitors from Australia with with a per capita expenditure of $1,382.48. Other high-spending markets include: Germany with $1,360.34; USA ($1,334.34); United Kingdom ($1,306.86); and Korea ($874.59).

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 27, 2014.

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