MORE than 1.5 million tourists have visited Davao Region in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 69.75 percent from the same period last year.

Davao del Norte posted a significant increase of 705,427 tourists from 193,991 in 2018. Majority were identified as domestic tourists while, 15,134 are foreign tourists.

“We can see the pattern. Malaki ‘yung increase sa first quarter of 2018 and then first quarter of 2019. Isa sa mga main contributors is ‘yung Davao del Norte probably because there are some conventions na even if located in Davao City, the guests take advantage of tours available like island hopping in Samal so that accounts already for more tourist arrivals in Davao del Norte,” Department of Tourism (DOT)-Davao director Tanya Rabat-Tan said in an interview with SunStar Davao Friday, June 28, 2019.

In the data obtained from DOT 11, Davao City posed the next highest number of tourists of 564,037. Majority or 505,491 were domestic tourists, 45,042 were foreign tourists, and 13,504 are overseas tourists or those Filipinos who visited but are now living abroad.

Compostela Valley followed with 282,868 from 131,095 in the same period of 2018; Davao Oriental recorded a decline of 14,632 from 40,198 tourists last year; Davao del Sur also posted a drop of tourist arrivals this year with 1,316 from 15,409 in 2018; and Davao Occidental have 188 tourists.

Despite decrease of tourist arrivals in the first quarter this year, Tan said they are optimistic to reach the 2019 target to exceed by 10 percent from the total number of tourists in 2018.

“Dito pa lang sa first quarter, ang laki na ng difference so I think we will reach the target,” she said.