The Department of Tourism (DOT) 8 (Eastern Visayas) has reminded tourism stakeholders in Samar province of the value of statistics in tourism development.
DOT-8 Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said during a tourism forum here on Monday that statistics guide the decision-making of lawmakers tasked to review and approve the budget.
“When we say tourism statistics, a lot of local government units do not look at us in a very nice way, because they say it is another added work,” Tiopes told local officials.
She added that in most cases, “many” is the common response when asked for an update on arrivals in their area.
“What our lawmakers, investors, and planners need are numbers. We need numbers to make our economy grow, to create jobs for our people,” Tiopes said.
In Samar province, only the cities of Catbalogan and Calbayog are consistent in submitting tourism statistics to the DOT every year.
Record shows that tourism arrivals in Calbayog City were on the rise from 2015 to 2018.
Based on the data, the city in 2015 welcomed 99,893 tourists. The figure went up to 124,897 in 2016, slightly dropped to 115,997 in 2017, and rose to 148,387 in 2018. The city is still consolidating the 2019 data.
The statistics in tourism arrival is translated to PHP857.59 million tourist receipts in 2015, PHP1.19 billion in 2016, PHP1.16 billion in 2017, and PHP1.63 billion in 2018.
“You have to look at the numbers when things don’t go based on your target,” Tiopes said.
She explained that aside from knowing the demographics of tourists, tourism statistics can also help in designing strategies to help local government units to better market their products, as well as in measuring whether a policy is effective or not.
Data gathered from tourism statistics are important for business people because they help them to properly compete with their peers in the industry.
These data will guide them to design strategies for them to better market their products to the world, Tiopes said.
She urged Samar’s local government officials to help the agency gain the support of the private sector in gathering tourism statistics.
“Submission is really a problem. We really need the support of our private sector-partners as far as tourism statistics is concerned and forget the issue on BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) because we are all obliged to pay taxes,” Tiopes said.
Holding a tourism forum is timely, especially now that the city’s airport has been improved and expanded. It will be inaugurated soon to accommodate bigger airplanes.
As the tourism hub in the first district of Samar, Calbayog plays an important role in promoting and marketing the different tourist destinations and attractions in the province.
Its location is strategically located not only to capture local tourist and airline passengers from Samar province but also those who are coming from and going to Northern Samar.
This city is known for Tarangban and Bangon Falls, two of the 35 waterfalls found in the city. (PNA)