Foreign arrivals in Cebu dip 6.09%

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Friday, May 16, 2014


THE Province of Cebu welcomed 463,113 visitors in the first two months this year, up by 1.38 percent compared to the arrivals in 2013.

In January, 237,389 arrivals were recorded; while February’s arrivals reached 225,724.

Foreign arrivals in the first two months dropped by 6.09 percent to 213,702 this year from 227,556 arrivals recorded in 2013.

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According to Department of Tourism (DOT) Director Rowena Montecillo, the decline in foreign arrivals was probably due to the lingering effects of the twin calamities that hit the province late last year.

Cebu was rocked by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in October and super typhoon Yolanda hit the northern part of the province less than a month after. January, which is the Sinulog month, and February, when Chinese New Year is usually celebrated, are considered the strongest months for tourism traffic in Cebu. At least 456,822 tourists were registered in the first two months of 2013.

DOT records show the Philippines logged a total of 884,014 visitors from January to February this year, up by 3.49 percent. January saw 461,383 visitors, which represented a 5.8-percent increase; February provided 422,631 visitors, for a growth of 1.08 percent.

The Korean market led all other markets for the period, with 220,831 Korean visitors to the country. This market, however, slowed down by 8.41 percent when compared to its arrivals for the same months in 2013 at 241,116.

The United States of America supplied the second largest influx of tourists, with 131,978 visitors. Chinese arrivals came third and logged 99,017, up by 42.25 percent, a significant boost to the industry with the observance of Chinese New Year.

Japan ranked fourth biggest with 75,383 visitors. The fifth major outbound market to the Philippines was Australia, providing 38,009 arrivals.

According to Montecillo, efforts are in place to boost the number of arrivals in calamity-stricken areas, especially in Bohol, Bantayan, Malapascua and Camotes.

“In fact, in June, during the Philippine Business Sales Mission in Japan, we will be highlighting Cebu and Bohol as tourism destinations,” said Montecillo.

Meanwhile, tourism in Bantayan Island, is slowly picking up. Montecillo said the accommodation establishments are now back in business, except that there are some that still rely on generators to operate.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 17, 2014.

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