BAGUIO CITY – Tourism industry stakeholders projected close to two million tourist arrivals in the Cordillera by this year to help spur economic growth and development in the countryside, an official of the Cordillera office of the Department of Tourism (DOT-CAR) said here recently.
Maria Venus Q. Tan, DOT-CAR regional director, said for the first six months of this year, there are a total of over 959,000 foreign and domestic tourist arrivals in the different parts of the region with Baguio city accounting for over 730,000 tourist arrivals.
Last year, data obtained from the DOT-CAR showed that there were a total of 1,788,648 foreign and domestic tourist arrivals around the region wherein domestic tourist accounted for 1,670,484 while foreign tourists had a total of 117,241 and balikbayans had 923 arrivals.
The DOT-CAR projected that for this year, there will be 1,878,080 foreign and domestic tourists who will be visiting the different tourist destinations regionwide with domestic tourists projected to be at 1,754,008 with foreign tourists pegged at 123,103 and balikbayans to be 969 arrivals.
From 2011 to 2016, the tourist arrivals in the region was 955,133 in 2011, before it dropped to 911,770 in 2012 and rebounded to 1,114,440 in 2013 before increasing to 1,156,463 in 2014 and up to 1,492,049 in 2015 and surged to 1,788,648 last year.
The DIOT-CAR official said based on the tourist arrivals for the first semester of this year, the region will be overshooting its projected tourist arrivals considering the expected influx of foreign and domestic tourists during the last quarter of the year wherein the people will be selecting their desired tourist destinations for the Christmas season aside from the upcoming long weekends at the end of the month.
According to her, there has been a sustained influx of foreign and domestic visitors in the city and some other preferred destinations in the region during weekends because of the easier access of the city from the lowlands courtesy of the 88-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) which made the city closer to Metro Manila considering the reduced travel time to as low as 3 hours.
She added the tourism department is also improving the allocation of data from tourism industry stakeholders regionwide to allow the gathering of the appropriate data on tourist arrivals that will guide policy makers and decision makers in crafting the necessary policies to sustain the development of existing and untapped tourist destinations around the Cordillera.
She attributed the sustained growth in foreign and domestic tourist arrivals in the region to the aggressive development of the different road networks that link various road networks to the leading tourist destinations in the different parts of the region.
Further, she also expressed her gratitude to the overwhelming support provided by the concerned local governments in aggressively promoting their existing and soon to be explored tourist spots which has gained the interests of foreign and domestic tourists, thus, the rapid growth of tourist arrivals in almost all areas in the region over the past several years which has been instrumental in spurring the improved economic activities in the far flung communities in the region.