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Tourist arrivals in CV drop

CEBU, Philippines — Peace and order concerns in Central Visayas during the first four months of this year have affected the appetite of Filipinos to travel within the region, as arrivals record showed a 12.32 percent decline versus the same period in 2016.

Department of Tourism (DOT-7) record showed that there were less domestic arrivals to Central Visayas from January to April this year, specifically in the provinces of Cebu and Bohol.

The region recorded a total of 1.09 million Filipinos from part of the country visited Central Visayas in the four months, a 12.32 percent drop from 1.2 million domestic arrival logged in 2016.

Bohol showed biggest decline with 54 percent drop, from 254,507 tourists in 2016, to only 115, 310 thousand in the same period this year.

In April this year,  the generally quiet and peaceful province was threatened when Abu Sayyaf, notorious for its kidnap-for-ransom activities, attacked the popular tourist destination in what authorities believe was an attempt to carry out another abduction.

This resulted to series of advisories against traveling to Bohol, including Cebu by main foreign markets like Korea, Japan, and USA, among others.

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Likewise, Cebu was hit by a 3.29 percent decline of domestic arrival during the period, from 779,000 Filipinos traveling to Cebu from other parts of the country, to 753,000 this year.

On the other hand, the two other provinces in the region Negros Oriental and Siquijor pulled up the otherwise discouraging performance  during the period, as arrival figure showed positive growth.

Negros Oriental domestic arrival from January to April went up to 12.14 percent to 188,269 Filipino tourists visiting the province.

While the mystique island of Siquijor grew its domestic arrival by 11.72 percent.

Aside from its scenic, rustic and serene environment, Suquijor is also gaining popularity among foreign medical tourists who want to explore the mystical island, said Cebu Health and Wellness Council (CHWC) officer Clarissa Pe.

Used to be known as Island of Fire or Isla del Fuego, Siquijor is enveloped by mystic traditions which the growing tourism industry is capitalizing on.

Siquijor is known to have magic potions, shamans, witches and sorcerers and for many Filipinos it is never safe to wander at night. But these kinds of attractions, on the other hand,  attract a rising number of foreign travelers, not only the medical tourists, Pe said.

This unique to Siquijor attraction also fascinates the young Filipino travellers. (FREEMAN)

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