Negros Occidental tourist arrivals up to 1.76 million

March 6, 2019
Invest Negros Occidental - Negros Beach Sipalay
This kilometer-stretch of white sand beach at Barangay 4 in Sipalay City is one of the nature-based tourism offerings of Negros Occidental attracting local and foreign tourists. (Jerick Lacson Photo)

TOURIST arrivals in Negros Occidental including its capital Bacolod City reached to almost 1.76 million in 2018, two percent higher than about 1.72 million in 2017.


Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, said Tuesday, March 5, that the increase can be attributed to various conventions held in Bacolod City last year.


Mansinares said other factors included nature-based tourism products and strengthened marketing and promotion efforts of the Provincial Government.


“Nature-based tourism products that we offered included beaches, mountain resorts, diving and snorkeling sites as well as trekking areas,” she said.


In terms of marketing and promotion initiatives, the province has been actively participating in key travel fairs and business missions.


It also hosted familiarization tours for local and international media and tour operators, and various tourism-related events like Panaad sa Negros Festival and other festivals in various local government units (LGUs).


The Provincial Government also cited the support of local bloggers in promoting the local tourism industry.


Mansinares, meanwhile, pointed out that the tourist arrival figures account for overnight visitors only.


This means that these are on top of the day visitors catered by Negros Occidental and its highly-urbanized capital city.


Reports from the Negros Occidental Tourism Division (NOTD) showed that there were 3.19 million day tourists catered by the province last year.


This is 17 percent higher than almost 2.74 million day visitors in 2017, it added.


For foreign tourists, the top 10 markets are United States of America with 16,362; Korea – 16,048; Japan – 8,021; Russia – 6,629; Australia – 5,636; China – 4,913; Canada – 4,744; Germany – 4,264; United Kingdom – 2,223; and India – 1,896.


The top 10 contributing LGUs, meanwhile, are Bacolod City, Sipalay City, Murcia for Mambukal Resort, Kabankalan City, San Carlos City, Cadiz City, Talisay City, Bago City, Escalante City, and Silay City.


Mansinares said the province has a total of 293 accommodation establishments with 5,853 rooms. Direct employment generated from these enterprises is pegged at 3,694.


“We continue to push for Department of Tourism (DOT) accreditation of tourism-oriented establishments,” she said, adding that there’s also a need to further support the regional line agency’s campaign “Experience Western Visayas First” by exploring local attractions in the province.


Other measures to boost local tourism include maintaining peace and order, continuing support of the private sector in delivering excellent tourism products and services, and strengthening the image of Negros Occidental as an investment destination.


It can be recalled that the 2017 tourist arrivals of the province were higher by seven percent than the 1.61 million in 2016.


In the 2016 Household Survey on Domestic Visitors (HSDV) released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and DOT in 2017, Negros Occidental was the second most visited place in the country by Filipino domestic travelers,


Behind National Capital Region, the province outranked Pangasinan, Cavite, Quezon, Bohol, Cebu, Camarines Sur, Laguna, and Leyte in the list of top 10 most visited places.