GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 February) — Tourist arrivals in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region increased by about 18 percent last year with a marked improvement in the region’s peace and order condition.
Nelly Nita Dillera, Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 12 director, said Friday their records showed that a total of 345,328 foreign and domestic tourists visited various attractions within the region’s four provinces and five cities from January to December 2013.
She said such figure was up by nearly 62,000 compared to the recorded arrivals in 2012, which reached 283,502.
“These are visitors or tourists who spent at least a night and were accommodated in various resorts and hotels within the region,” she said in a statement.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Dillera said this city posted the biggest number of visitors last year with around 103,000 or 30 percent of the recorded tourist arrivals.
She said it was followed by Cotabato City with 62,521 or 18 percent; South Cotabato with 58,705 or 17 percent; Kidapawan City with 44,892 or 13 percent; Koronadal City with around 31,000 or nine percent; Sarangani with 17,266 or five percent; and, Cotabato Province and Tacurong City with nearly 14,000 or four percent each.
Sultan Kudarat province failed to report their tourist arrivals for last year, she said.
In terms of foreign tourists, Dillera said a total of 11,858 visited the region in 2013 and mostly came from the United States, Korea, Canada, Australia and Papua New Guinea.
The official said they also recorded a total of 471,980 day tourists or visitors who opted to go home or stay in accommodation facilities based outside the region.
She said North Cotabato accounts for the bulk of the day tourists at 44 percent, followed by Sarangani at 38 percent, South Cotabato at 12 percent and Tacurong City at six percent.
Dillera said among the most visited tourist attractions by the day tourists were the New Israel Eco-Adventure Park and Asik-Asik Falls in North Cotabato; Gumasa beach resorts, Maitum river tubing, dive and paragliding spots in Sarangani Province; Lake Sebu and Mt. Matutum Eco-Park in South Cotabato; and, the Baras Bird Sanctuary in Tacurong City. (MindaNews)