ILOILO CITY – The tourist arrivals in Western Visayas continued its upward trend, increasing by about 400, 000 tourists every year from 2011.
Department of Tourism (DOT)-6 Director Helen Catalbas said that from 2.4 million in 2011, the tourist arrivals in the region grew to 3.5 million in a span of seven years.
“This means, everyday, approximately, 3,000 people add to the average visitors and residents using the facilities when visiting tourist attractions and consuming the products of the region,” said Catalbas during the opening ceremony of the 29th National Statistics Month (NSM) celebration in Western Visayas on October 4 at Robinsons Place Jaro.
Catalbas said some 5,852,937 tourists visited Western Visayas in 2017, making it one of the most visited regions in the country.
As of August this year, tourist arrivals in the region reached 1,890,590.
Catalbas is optimistic that the year-end target of 5.2 tourist arrivals figure in the region is achievable despite the temporary closure of Boracay Island.
She said the figure lost from the closure of Boracay Island was compensated for by other provinces of the region like Iloilo, Negros, Guimaras and Capiz.
Catalbas also bared that each of the six provinces and highly urbanized cities of the region targets 15 percent to 25 percent increase in tourist arrivals every year to reach the region’s goal of 10 million tourist arrival by 2022.
She called on tourism stakeholders not to forget to include sustainable efforts in their endeavors while making sure to reach the targets as she underscored the 29th NSM celebration theme “Exploring Philippine Wonders in Numbers: Statistics Towards Sustainable Tourism Development”.
According to Catalbas, sustainable tourism is a long-term process and requires determination and collaboration from all sectors of society which can only be achieved when its main three pillars are in sync – environmental, social and economic.
“We in Western Visayas in particular and other regions of the Philippines should never forget the lessons of Boracay. Let us be reminded that in everything we do, it’s possible to couple quantity with quality,” Catalbas said.
DOT-6 hosted the opening ceremony of the 29th NSM celebration and the Statistical Exhibit participated by 14 competing agencies and it will run until October 26 at Robinsons Place Jaro, Iloilo City. (JBG/laf/PIA6-Iloilo)