THE tourist town of Moalboal registered 6,870 total dives in the first two months of the year, averaging just over 100 dives a day in the first 58 days of the year.

“Thank God our tourism business has picked up and we are at 60 percent pre-Covid (coronavirus disease) level already in terms of foreign tourists. You can already see a lot of tourists strolling around town. They no longer have apprehensions or worries. Plus, the measures implemented by our governor (Gwendolyn Garcia), when she relaxed restrictions, really helped,” said Moalboal Mayor Inocentes Cabaron Saturday, March 25, 2023.

Moalboal also generated P1,931,610 from those availing themselves of its island hopping and snorkeling services and an additional P1,175,910 from beach goers, the southwestern Cebu town said in a statement.

Last year, Moalboal was the top destination for tourists outside of Metro Cebu, registering a total of 19,903 tourists, almost 6,000 ahead of the next-best destination Daanbantayan.

These are the figures provided by the Department of Tourism from hotels and other accommodations of tourists who stayed for at least one night.

However, town records show that for 2022 Moalboal registered 264,528 day users who availed themselves of its various activities such as island hopping and the Sardine run and turtle watching. It also tallied 90,917 tourists who stayed for at least one night.

Mayor Cabaron expects the figures to have a dramatic increase this year with the expected arrival of Chinese tourists.

“Now that China is opening up, we are expecting Chinese tourists also. Chinese tourists don’t come individually; they arrive in busloads,” said Cabaron.

For the first two months of 2023 alone, Moalboal has equaled 25 percent of its 2022 income from island-hopping, 34 percent from snorkeling and 19 percent from beachgoers.

In 2022, Moalboal earned P13.2 million from tourism-related user fees, which it used for tourism-related improvements. (PJB, PR)