■ CHI­NESE TOURISTS OVER­TAKE JA­PANESE AMONG RE­GION’S VIS­I­TORS

With more di­rect flights to China and bet­ter ties with the Philip­pines, Chi­nese tourists posted the high­est growth in for­eign tourism ar­rivals in Cen­tral Visayas n 2017

Sun.Star Cebu - - TOP STORIES - KATLENE O. CACHO / Edi­tor @katCa­cho

More Chi­nese tourists than Ja­panese ones vis­ited Cen­tral Visayas in 2017, the tourism depart­ment re­vealed. At 429,306 ar­rivals, the num­ber of tourists from China sky­rock­eted by 75 per­cent, the fastest growth among the re­gion’s top 10 for­eign mar­kets. Tourism Sec­re­tary Wanda Teo cred­ited this to the in­creased vis­i­bil­ity of tourism sites across dif­fer­ent me­dia plat­forms, and col­lab­o­ra­tion among gov­ern­ment agen­cies and tourism in­dus­try stake­hold­ers. South Kore­ans con­tin­ued to be the big­gest group of tourists in Re­gion 7, with 895,776 ar­rivals last year or an in­crease of 6.26 per­cent from fig­ures in 2016.

A to­tal of 6.9 mil­lion tourists vis­ited Cen­tral Visayas in 2017, up by 17.13 per­cent from 2016.

China has over­taken Japan in terms of ar­rivals, with 429,306 ar­rivals last year.

It posted the high­est growth among the top 10 for­eign mar­kets of the re­gion at 75 per­cent, from 244,925 ar­rivals in the pre­vi­ous year.

Tourism Sec­re­tary Wanda Teo, in a state­ment, cred­ited the high ar­rivals in the re­gion to the in­creased vis­i­bil­ity of tourist sites across dif­fer­ent me­dia plat­forms and the col­lab­o­ra­tion among the tourism in­dus­try play­ers, lo­cal gov­ern­ment units (LGUs), other stake­hold­ers and the Depart­ment of Tourism.

South Korea re­mained the re­gion’s top tourist mar­ket, with ar­rivals of 895,776 last year, up by 6.26 per­cent, fol­lowed by China, and Japan with 408,566 ar­rivals.

Ac­cord­ing to DOT 7, many Korean tourists are at­tracted to the warm weather, friendly en­vi­ron­ment, and com­pet­i­tive English ed­u­ca­tion.

South Korea has con­sis­tently re­mained the top tourist mar­ket over the last five years.

“This trend is ex­pected to con­tinue in 2018, al­though ar­rivals from China are ex­pected to main­tain strong growth,” the agency said.

The in­crease in Chi­nese ar­rivals marks a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone as a re­sult of the warm­ing re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries, said DOT 7.

Con­nec­tiv­ity

It added that the open­ing of more di­rect flights from cities in China to Cebu would led to the in­crease in ar­rivals from the main­land.

GMR-Me­gaw­ide Cebu Air­port Corp. (GMACAC) pres­i­dent Louie Fer­rer, in a sep­a­rate in­ter­view, said they an­tic­i­pate more air­lines from China to mount di­rect flights to Cebu with the open­ing of Ter­mi­nal 2 this June.

Fer­rer said they got com­mit­ments from 10 air­lines from China to mount flights to Cebu last year. How­ever, only six pur­sued their plans while two air­lines de­ferred due to the fight­ing in Marawi.

“Hope­fully, we will get the other four this year,” he said.

Fer­rer added GMCAC is en­gag­ing in talks with other air­line com­pa­nies to help Cebu con­nect to other parts of the globe.

“Ar­rivals from Japan and Korea are in­creas­ing and we hope to serve these mar­kets more while we con­tinue court­ing air­lines from other coun­tries,” he said.

Other top source mar­kets of Cen­tral Visayas are the United States (219, 796), Tai­wan (71,739), Aus­tralia (71,724), Ger­many (58,432), France (50,257), United King­dom (49,484), and Canada (43,084).

SUNSTAR FILE

1,2,3 JUMP! Aside from its pop­u­lar whale­shark tours, Os­lob also has an In­sta-wor­thy her­itage park that’s a hit among tourists.

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