The Department of Tourism (DOT) is upbeat about surpassing the 2023 tourist arrival target in Eastern Visayas as it demonstrated better performance during the preceding first three quarters, a top official said on Monday.
DOT Eastern Visayas Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said that from January to October 2023 alone, there was already a 3 percent increase in arrivals compared to the same period in 2022.
From January to September 2023, the region welcomed 827,505 visitors, higher than the 803,403 overnight guests logged in the same months the previous year.
The tourism department is still waiting for the data from local governments covering the October to December 2023 period.
“We are confident in hitting the target since, during the later part of 2023, the region welcomed many visitors. We hosted national conventions held in Leyte, surfing events in Eastern Samar, year-end activities, and Christmas lighting events led by different local government units,” Tiopes told the Philippine News Agency on Monday.
The five-year Eastern Visayas tourism roadmap targets 7.5 percent annual growth for domestic visitors and 5 percent for foreign guests. The initial report has no available data on the breakdown of local and foreign tourists.
Meanwhile, Tiopes said gathering of tourism statistics remains a challenge in their bid to see the general picture of tourism arrivals in the region.
These figures include tourist arrivals, day and night tourists, receipts and specific sites they have visited.
“It’s very challenging to gather data since the submissions from tourism establishments are forwarded to local governments. We rely on them to gather data and submit it to us promptly. We need these statistics to help us understand the general trends and patterns in each data set. It can be used for analyzing data and drawing conclusions from it. It can also be used for making predictions about future events and behaviors,” Tiopes added.
She said that aside from knowing the demographics of tourists, tourism statistics could help in designing strategies so local government units could better market their products and how to measure success factors.
The Eastern Visayas region consists of the provinces of Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar and Southern Leyte, as well as the cities of Baybay, Borongan, Calbayog, Catbalogan, Maasin, Ormoc and Tacloban, the regional center.
Among its popular destinations are Kalanggaman Island, San Juanico Bridge, Leyte Landing Memorial in Leyte, Sambawan Island in Biliran, diving sites in Southern Leyte, Calicoan Island in Eastern Samar, Sohoton Cave and Natural Park in Samar, and Biri Rock Formations in Northern Samar. (PNA)