THE Department of Tourism (DOT) Northern Mindanao revealed Hong Kong tourist arrivals decreased in the first quarter of 2010 compared last year.

Ma. Elena Manalo, DOT-Northern Mindanao supervisor, said from 126 arrivals of tourists from Hong Kong in 2009, it went down to 106 this year, posting negative 16 percent.

Post your reaction to the Manila hostage crisis

She, however, did not elaborate on the reason of the decrease.

Data from the DOT showed that tourist arrivals from Japan and Korea also dwindled to negative 22 percent and 19 percent, respectively, or from 771 and 1,509 in 2009 to 598 and 1,222 in 2010.

Taiwan, however, posted an increase of more than 156 percent in tourist arrivals in the region, from 144 in 2009 to 369 this year while China also registered a favorable 20 percent increase, from 536 in 2009 to 644 in 2010.

These nations, including Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, are categorized by the DOT-Northern Mindanao under the East Asian region.

Manalo said the DOT recorded a total of 253,859 tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2010, the bulk of which were local tourists with 203,412.

This year, only one arrival was recorded from Myanmar, a declining figure from 14 arrivals in 2009.

Brunei also posted 67 percent decrease with only two arrivals in 2010 from six in 2009.

The second country to lead the list is the United States of America, posting 2,141 tourists this year but a slight decrease from 2,151 in 2009.

Among the foreign tourists who visited the region came from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.

Manalo also noted the 1,203 balikbayans who were accounted as tourists in 2009 but whose number slightly went down to 1,150 in 2010.

She added that around 2,443 tourists in 2009 and 880 in 2010 are with unidentified nationality.

In summary, however, Manalo said the total number of tourist arrivals increased by 17 percent this year.