The Department of Tourism in the Caraga Region (DOT-13) expressed optimism the number of tourist arrivals for this year in Caraga will hit 2 million.
“We are still finalizing the numbers from the provinces. So far what we are still settled on the numbers for the first quarter of this year,” DOT-13 OIC Director Mary Jean Camarin said in an interview.
Camarin also noted a 10-percent increase in tourist arrivals in the region for the first quarter of the year.
“Last year, the total tourist arrival in Caraga was recorded at 1.3 million, with more than 400,00 arrivals during the first quarter. We are optimistic we can surpass the number this year,” she said.
Most foreigners visiting Caraga Region last year were Americans, Europeans, Canadians, Koreans, and Chinese.
“Most of these foreign visits were concentrated on Siargao Island considering the two major international sporting events held there every year,” she said.
Camarin was referring to the International Game Fishing held every April in Pilar town, and the International Surfing Competition slated every October in the municipality of General Luna.
Meanwhile, Camarin also announced the approval of a PHP40-million allocation for the development of tourism product projects for Caraga next year.
“We are still waiting for the mechanics of this funding and we are also preparing our proposals to be funded,” she said.
Among the projects for consideration include the support to the proposed River Cruise at the Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, the Siargao Island Environmental Protection Project, the farm tourism sites in the region, and the establishment of a tourism satellite office on Siargao Island.
Camarin also thanked the continued support of tourism stakeholders in Caraga, particularly on their move to align the region’s tourism masterplan to the National Tourism Development Plan.
On Monday, the DOT-13 convened all the tourism stakeholders for a two-day consultation workshop for the updating of the tourism strategic framework of the Caraga Region. (PNA)