Tourist arrivals up 10.3%

Published by rudy Date posted on April 25, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s top tourist destinations posted higher tourist arrivals in the first quarter of the year despite the prevailing global financial crisis, the Department of Tourism (DOT) reported yesterday.

Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said a total of 1.3 million tourists visited the country’s top destinations in the months of January to March, up by 10.3 percent compared to the first quarter of last year.

Durano said Cebu attracted the biggest volume of visitors with a share of 32 percent followed by Boracay, 12 percent, Davao City with 11.9, Camarines Sur at 11 percent, Zambales (seven percent), and Bohol (five percent).

He added that domestic tourist arrivals in Puerto Princesa City and Coron in Palawan posted a record breaking growth of 392 percent as more flights were mounted to these destinations from Manila, Cebu, and Caticlan as well as Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia. 

Local visitors also flocked to Camarines Sur for wakeboarding, Surigao del Sur, Sorsogon (Donsol) for whale shark interaction, Zambales (Subic) for recreation, Ilocos Norte and La Union for sightseeing and beach holiday resulting in double digit gains in these destinations.

“Overall, the volume of domestic tourists visiting key destinations grew faster at 13 percent while foreign arrivals recorded a four percent hike in the first quarter,” Durano disclosed..

Cebu was the most frequently visited destination by foreign tourists with 184,790 arrivals followed by Boracay (63,903), Zambales (25,252), Camarines Sur (24,976), and Bohol (24,350).

DOT also reported that room capacity in key tourist destinations for the first quarter of 2009 expanded with the opening of new hotels and resorts that created additional employment in the midst of global economic downturn.

For January to March , a total of 1,231 additional rooms were opened.  With an aggregate cost of P8.016 billion, these new investments directly employed 1,286 people.

The opening of the P3.18 billion Imperial Palace Water Park, Resort and Spa increased the room supply in Cebu by four percent to 14,792.  With 616 rooms, this new tourism project provided employment to 780 workers.

In Metro Manila, the opening of the Legend International’s Park, Bed and Breakfast Hotel, Eurotel Hotel Branch in Makati, and the expansion of Oakwood Serviced Residences increased the total room supply by 320. –Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star

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