By Macoi Garcia
Bacolod City — This city and Negros Occidental had 1.6 million tourist arrivals in 2017, which is about 30 percent of the total number of visitors in Western Visayas, records from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed.
Based on the partial record presented by DOT Regional Director Helen Catalbas Tuesday, Western Visayas has 5,436,720 arrivals, which is 300,000 higher than 2016 figure.
Catalbas was in Bacolod to discuss trends in tourism, business, and hospitality management education during the #7NEWJAUNDERS national summit at the L’Fisher Hotel.
She said the report, which was done February 14, comprised 95 percent of the total tourist arrivals in the region, and she is still waiting for other LGUs to submit their own reports.
The tourists, 78 percent of whom are locals, contributed P120.8 billion worth of receipts to the region, Catalbas said.
Koreans ranked first in the list of the top five foreign tourist markets in Western Visayas with 386,986 or a market share of 33.64 percent. The Chinese followed with 385,464 or 33.51 percent, Americans with 42,854 or 3.73 percent, Taiwanese with 42,445 or 3.69 percent, and Australians with 24,382 or 2.12 percent.
DOT by itself cannot do the monitoring of arrivals because it lacks manpower. That is why every LGU has to submit a tourist arrival report to their provincial governments which pass it on to the regional tourism office, Catalbas said.
Aklan, where the world-famous Boracay Island is, has the highest arrivals with 2,162,663 or 40 percent of the total, followed by Iloilo City with 857,068, Negros Occidental with 836,872, and Bacolod City with 831,687.
Combined records of Bacolod City and Neg. Occidental make up 30 percent of the total regional record or 1,668,559 in arrivals.
Visitors to Bacolod were 9 percent foreigners, and 91 percent locals, while Negros tourists were 4 percent foreigners and 96 percent locals.
Iloilo had the biggest arrivals in 2017 with 301,011. Antique had 162,925, Capiz 156,238, and Guimaras 128,256 visitors.
Catalbas said the arrival target for 2018 is at 6.1 million tourists.