TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT) reported that Leyte continues to have the highest number of tourists among the provinces and cities in the region.
Of the 1.51 million tourists, local and foreigners alike, who visited the region last year, more than 971,000 of them visited Leyte who went to it various tourist attractions.
The most frequently visited destination in the province by the tourists were Kalanggaman Island in Palompon town and Cuatro Islas, a group of four islets located in Hindang and Inopacan.
Tacloban City, the premier city of the region, had the second number of tourist arrivals last year with 532,800 tourists.
Samar, whose provincial government under Governor Sharee Ann Tan is strengthening the province’ tourism promotion, was visited by 212,189 tourists followed by Baybay City with 157, 364; Southern Leyte (142,970 tourists); Ormoc City,119,099; Calbayog City with 115, 997; Catbalogan City,95,147; Northern Samar(83, 433); Eastern Samar(78, 422); Maasin City with 72,604; Borongan City with 57, 945; and Biliran province with 23,297.
In terms of grouping percentage, North Americans had the biggest part of the pie with 24.77 percent, followed by East Asian with 11.88 percent, European with 8.86 percent, Australasia with 6.45 percent and Asian with 1.76 percent.
Rodel Balierbare, DOT8 tourism operation officer and in-charge of tourism statistics, said that they are targeting to achieve 1.76 million tourist arrivals.
For next year, the DOT is targeting 2.10 million visitors in the region and 2.51 million by 2020.
The DOT also reported that tourist receipt reached to P13.97 billion in 2017, an increase from the P11.68 billion in 2016.
The increasing number of tourist arrivals in the region is being complemented with the implementation of infrastructure programs and tourism industry skills program (TISP), said Balierbare.
Under the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program (TRIP), 29 road access projects to tourism sites were given allocation of P1.84 billion budget for this year.