Freeman Cebu Business

South Amercian, Middle Eastern countries now top markets for CV

Ehda Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Central Visayas is now one of the favorite destinations among South American and Middle Eastern tourists. The two groups registered the most number of arrivals in the first 11 months of 2014 easily making them  as the top two fastest growing markets for the region.

Latest record from the Department of Tourism (DOT-7) revealed that arrivals from South American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Peru and Valenzuela, logged the highest in terms of percentage growth with 52 percent improvement from January to November 2014, compared to the same period in 2013.

Middle Eastern tourists visiting either the four provinces in Central Visayas – Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor – came out as the second fast growing market with 44 percent increase in arrival in the first 11 months last year.

Middle Eastern countries  include  Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The ASEAN integration  also fueled the interest of the nine ASEAN member countries, as arrival record from these countries registered a 38 percent growth. These are nationalities  from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Overall, foreign arrivals to the region reached 1.36 million, a  9.57 percent jump from 2013.

The region logged a total of  3.42 million tourists as of November last year. This is  6.86 percent higher than that of the same period in 2013.

Domestic travelers top the list with 59.94 percent share or a total of 2.05 million.

According to DOT-7 regional director Rowena Montecillo, Koreans remain the top tourist market with 45.5 percent share of the total 1.36 million foreign tourists that visited the region last year.

Other top markets include Japan (18.59 percent), United States of America (10.38 percent), China (5.13 percent) and Australia (3.85 percent).

Cebu remains the top destination of choice in the region with 2.5 million tourists followed by Negros Oriental with 470,453, Bohol with 397,682 and Siquijor with 37,326.

Currently, Montecillo said her office is coordinating with the different tourism provincial offices in the region, as well as private tourism stakeholders to develop more tourism packages that will further boost the region’s tourism advantage.

Although Cebu enjoys a huge traffic share, Montecillo said there  is still  a need to constantly offer new products to lure the tourists in. 

Boosting Cebu’s tourist attractions  is vital as the province is the jump off area for tourists going to other provinces in the region. 

“We’re happy about the turnout of tourists  last year and we’re positive we will surpass the target of 3.6 million. This year  is  another challenge for us because we have a higher target of 4.4 million tourist arrivals,”  she said.

While DOT-7 is still finalizing the arrival figures for the entire 2014, collating the official arrival records from air and sea transport points, Montecillo is confident that the region will hit the 3.6 million target arrivals, as it is only 200,000 short as of end November 2014. (FREEMAN)









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