The Department of Tourism (DOT) 13 (Caraga) expects increased tourist arrivals this year, surpassing even the 92.1 percent surge recorded last year.
“We anticipate an even higher percentage of arrivals for 2023, as more flights are back in the Caraga region, specifically in Siargao Island, where the bulk of our arrivals come from,” DOT-13 Director Ivonnie Dumadag said in an interview Wednesday.
Siargao clinched the 2023 edition of Condé Nast Traveler’s (CNT) Top 10 Readers’ Choice Awards early last month, along with Boracay and Palawan. The island was also on top of the CNT’s list in 2021.
With the complete lifting of border controls, Dumadag said she expects this year’s tourist arrivals to eclipse the 2022 and 2021 figures, at 725,766 and 377,441, respectively.
Dumadag likewise underscored the importance of accurately obtaining tourist data from local sources, especially from local governments and private stakeholders, in capturing this year’s actual arrival figures.
This year’s record, she said, is still being gathered and processed at the local level.
Of the total number of arrivals last year, 711,059 were domestic visitors while 14,207 were foreign tourists.
According to the DOT-13, a significant increase was recorded in Surigao del Norte with 183,528 (174,303 domestic, 9,225 foreign) arrivals last year compared to 28,287 (27,553 domestic, 734 foreign) in 2021;
Dinagat Islands with 16,818 (16,777 domestic, 41 foreign) arrivals in 2022 compared to all-domestic visits of 1,091 in the previous year; and Surigao del Sur with 70,916 domestic visitors last year compared to 12,722 domestic visits in the previous year.
Agusan del Sur also logged an increase in 2022 with 54,300 visits last year (54,141 domestic, 159 foreign) compared to 36,715 arrivals in 2021 (36,697 domestic, 18 foreign).
Only the province of Agusan del Norte recorded a decrease in arrivals last year with 31,037 domestic visits compared to 124,507 domestic visitors in 2021.
Among the cities in the region, Surigao City logged the highest number of visits last year with 143,770 (140,884 domestic, 2,886 foreign) compared to 56,575 (55,862 domestic, 713 foreign) visits in the previous year;
Butuan City with 105,904 visits (104,119 domestic, 1,785 foreign) compared to 51,071 (50,976 domestic, 95 foreign); and Tandag City with 56,656 (56,600 domestic, 56 foreign) from 31,076 (31,074 domestic, 2 foreign) visits. (PNA)