GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 February) — Tourist arrivals in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region surged to a record 2.38 million in 2014 as the local tourism industry continued to gain momentum with the area’s enhanced tourism development, promotion and marketing initiatives.
Nelly Nita Dillera, Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 12 director, said the total tourist arrivals in the region last year was around 2.04 million more than the recorded figures in 2013, which only reached 345,328.
She said it also exceeded the agency’s target of 1.9 million tourist arrivals for the period by about 22 percent or around 426,000.
“This only shows that Region 12 tourism is booming and on the rise,” she said at the regional launching of the DOT’s Visit the Philippines Year 2015 campaign here on Thursday afternoon.
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 highest number of visitors in 2014 at 672,960 for both day and overnight visits.
She said it was followed by Sarangani with 643,729, South Cotabato with 384,296, Kidapawan City with 229,350, North Cotabato with 162,457, Tacurong City with 105,062, Sultan Kudarat with 75,193, Koronadal City with 56,492 and Cotabato City with 59,577.
This city recorded the most number of overnight tourist arrivals at 385,506 while Sarangani topped the day arrivals at 595,790, she said.
She said South Cotabato placed second in both overnight and day tourist arrivals at 79,026 and 305,270, respectively.
In terms of foreign tourists, Dillera said visitors from the United States topped their arrivals list, followed by South Korea, Australia, Japan and China.
Region 12’s tourist arrivals have been increasing in the last three years, a feat attributed to the intensified tourism-related programs and campaigns of the DOT and the local government units.
DOT-12 launched the “12th Paradise” in late 2013 as the region’s tourism brand. It focuses on “what Region 12 can offer as a paradise” through its world-class natural and cultural destinations.
In 2012, the agency recorded total tourists arrivals of 283,502 that eventually grew to 345,328 in 2013.
But these figures were only dependent on the recorded overnight tourists or visitors due to the lack of available data.
Dillera said they enhanced their databank system last year through regular monitoring and coordination with local tourism offices and tourism-related establishments.
She said they mandated them to properly record both day and overnight tourist arrivals in their respective areas and establishments.
“We regularly update our arrival records as it helps in determining whether our campaigns and initiatives are creating impact on the ground,” she added. (MindaNews)