TOURISM arrivals in Central Visayas grew by 0.38 percent during the first quarter this year.
Records from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed the province only had 906,638 arrivals this year from 903,231 in the same period in 2013.
Foreign tourist arrivals dropped by 6.95 percent from 387,025 last year to 360,122 this year.
DOT 7 Director Rowena Montecillo said the decline in foreign arrivals was a result of the twin calamities that happened in the last quarter of 2013.
Cebu and Bohol were hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake last October while certain areas in the northern part of Cebu suffered from massive destruction caused by super typhoon Yolanda in November.
“We anticipated the decline because of what happened last year but the DOT, together with the local government units and private sectors, are working closely to revive tourism, especially the Cebu-Bohol cluster which was hardly hit,” said Montecillo.
“Efforts are in place to bring back tourism, in fact, Cebu-Bohol were among the destinations we aggressively marketed during the recently concluded business and travel mission in Japan,” she said.
Four top travel markets in the region recorded a decline in arrivals. Korea, which is the region’s consistent no. 1 market, dropped by 8.98 percent from 139,056 to 126,566 in the first three months this year.
Arrivals from Australia, Germany and Russia dropped by 5.45 percent, 5.38 percent and 21.31 percent respectively.
Japan remained the second biggest contributor of arrivals. It grew by 2.21 percent from 57,995 in 2013 to 59,276. This market was followed by USA, whose arrivals went up by 7.98 percent or 33,582 arrivals.
China grew by 13.06 percent to 18,817 arrivals. United Kingdom recorded the huge growth of 35.56 percent from 6,786 to 9,199. Arrivals from France and Canada grew by 2.42 percent and 6.19 percent respectively.
Of the total arrivals in the region, Cebu welcomed 687,586 tourists; Bohol, 92,053; Negros Oriental, 117,215; and Siquijor, 9,784.
The DOT logged 2,061,135 international visitors to the Philippines during the first five months of 2014, up by 2.47 percent compared to the same months of 2013.
The South Korean market continued to be the top contributor of international visitors with 453,227 arrivals.
However, the DOT noted a “noticeable decline in Korean market which may be attributed to the slowdown of honeymoon market due to strong competition on package price by tour operators and hotels from Guam and Hawaii. Likewise, the English as Second Language (ESL) segment slowed down as reported by leading tour operators. However, strong efforts are being done by tour operators to regain the business and come up with better programs.”
USA supplied the second largest influx of arrivals with 327,702 visitors. The Chinese market gave significant boost to the industry providing a total 198,951 arrivals while arrivals from Japan stood at 188,941. Australia grew by 9.60 percent to 96,655 arrivals.
Rounding up the top ten visitor markets are Singapore with 74,710 arrivals; Canada, 67,929; United Kingdom, 60,305 arrivals; Taiwan, 55,543; and Malaysia, 54,420 arrivals.
Total tourism receipts during the first five months stood at P91.40 billion. DOT said the top five visitor markets in terms of receipts were Korea, with P23.33 billion; USA at P18.52 billion, Australia at P6.12 billion, Japan at P4.76 billion and China with P4.47 billion.
1st quarter tourism arrivals flat, DOT 7 records show