Leyte remains to be the most visited by tourists among Eastern Visayas (Region 8) provinces in 2017, the Department of Tourism (DOT) regional office here has confirmed.
Of the 1.51 million visitors in Region 8 last year, 971,005 of them toured the province, the DOT said.
The most visited island destinations are Kalanggaman Island in Palompon town, Cuatro Islas in Inopacan & Hindang towns, and Canigao Island in Matalom town.
Rodel Balierbare, DOT regional tourism operation officer, said in an interview Tuesday that it is more convenient to tour Leyte sites considering its proximity to the city’s airport and presence of nearby tourism establishments.
Outside Leyte, other tourist haven are: Sambawan Island in Maripipi, Biliran; San Pedro Island in Hinunangan, Southern Leyte; Biri Island in Biri, Northern Samar; Minasangay Island Marine Ecological Park in Balangakayan, Eastern Samar; Maasin City Forest Park in Southern Leyte.
Other favorite natural attractions are the Lintaon Peak and Cave in Baybay City, Lake Danao in Ormoc City, and Bakwitan River in Baybay City.
Trailing behind Leyte are tourism sites in Tacloban City, Samar province, Baybay City, Southern Leyte, Ormoc City, Calbayog City, Catbalogan City, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Maasin City, Borongan City, and Biliran province.
A tourist has an average length of stay of 2.01 nights and spends an average of PHP4,454.97 daily during their stay, said Balierbare.
Tourism receipts rose to PHP13.97 billion in 2017 from PHP11.68 billion in 2016, DOT reported. This is a big leap from PHP3.12 billion tourism income in 2013 and PHP7.09-billion income in 2014. Of the 1.51 million tourists in 2017, 1.45 million are domestic tourists and 58,000 are foreign guests.
Americans led the nationalities of international tourists in Eastern Visayas with 12,149, followed by Australians (3,394), Japanese (2,626), Koreans (2,127), and Canadians (1,345).
Meanwhile, for same day tourist, the region welcomed 3.88 million visitors or 63.71 percent increase from 2.37 million in 2016. Same day visitors are tourists that visit destinations but do not stay overnight in the region.
This increasing number of tourist arrival is being complemented with the implementation of infrastructure programs and tourism industry skills program (TISP), Balierbare said.
The TISP got PHP6.93 million outlay for 32 trainings for frontline service providers, employment opportunity trainings, and human resource development. This is higher than the PHP3.48-million budget for 14 trainings conducted in 2017.
Under the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program (TRIP), 29 tourism access road projects got an allocation of PHP1.84 billion this year.
From 2013 to 2018, the government has allocated some PHP6.69 billion for TRIP projects in region’s six provinces. (PNA)
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