Zamboanga City tourism sustains growth
By Jocelyn P. Alvarez
Zamboanga City (4 March) -- Tourist arrivals to this city for the year 2009 is recorded at 321,581.
Zamboanga City rocketed its visitors' volume to 321, 581 tourist arrivals, posting a modest growth rate of 1.5% vis-à-vis the previous year's volume of 316, 718.
Data gathered from the City Tourism Office shows, domestic tourists still form the bulk of the arrivals with 283,306 arrivals recorded while Balikbayan and foreign arrivals rounded up at 38, 275.
Arrivals from ASEAN, EAST ASIA, SOUTH ASIA, NORTH AMERICA, OCEANIA, EUROPE and MIDDLE EAST comprises the foreign arrivals in the city.
The growth rate was complimented with the opening of new tourism destinations like the Paseo Del Mar and the Jardin Maria Clara in Pasonanca.
City activities like the Dia de Zamboanga (charter anniversary) and the Fiesta Pilar- as expected continuously gain popularity all over the Philippines and abroad, which notably boosted tourists' arrivals in the city.
Fort Pilar, Paseo Del Mar and Pasonanca Park, according to City Tourism Office is the city's top three tourists destination.
Meanwhile, City Tourism Office (CTO) revealed the opening of the Zamboanga City Integrated Bus Terminal which is targeted late this year (2010) is expected to increase tourists' arrivals in the city for 2010.
CTO further revealed the newest addition to the line of tourists' destination in the city is the opening of Plaza Rizal, which is currently under construction and is expected for completion this October, in time for the Fiesta Pilar celebration.
Zamboanga City is blessed with natural and man-made attractions. For natural attractions, we have the Sta. Cruz Island, Bolong Beach, Pasonanca Eco-Park, Carreon Falls (in Sinubong), Congo Falls (in La Paz), Nancy Falls (in La Paz), Mt. Binalabag, 11 Islands, Busay Falls (in San Roque) and Merloquet Falls.
For man-made attractions we have the Yakan-Weaving Village, Zamboanga City Metropolitan Cathedral, Zamboanga Golf Course and Beach Park, Canelar Barter Trade Center, Fort Pilar, City Hall, Plaza Pershing, La Vista del Mar Resort and Restaurant, R.T. Lim Boulevard, Cesar C. Climac Freedom Park, Jardin Maria Clara Lobregat (Butterfly Sanctuary), Pasonanca Swimming Pools, Pasonanca Aviary, Boy Scouts Camp, Pasonanca Tree House, Taluksangay Mosque, Woodland Resort and Restaurant and the latest is Paseo Del Mar.
Peak season for tourists' arrivals is marked in the months of October, March, April, May and December while lean season is considered in the months of January, June and July.
Meanwhile, Deparrtment of Tourism Central Office reported tourist arrivals to the country's tourist destinations in the third quarter of 2009 grew by 17% to 5.2 million from a modest 1.99million in 2000
Cebu regained its lead as the most visited destination with 1.24 million visitors, posting a growth rate of 1.8% vis-à-vis the previous year volume of 1.21 million. The opening of new tourism destinations, products, facilities and activities as well as increased in flight frequencies of major airlines from Manila and other islands in the Visayas and Mindanao to Cebu gave impetus for enhanced domestic travel movement.
Tourist influx to Camarines Sur remained robust as domestic visitors increased by 163% while foreign arrivals rose by 29% for an overall growth of 124.6% or 1.23 million tourists. Major events such as the International Kite Boarding Competition, World Wakeboarding Competition, Ironman Run, and the International Dragon Boat Competition have greatly contributed not only towards increasing awareness but also growth in international travel to the destination.
Despite the lean season in the third quarter, tourist arrivals to Boracay Island rose by 5.3% with domestic visitors fast increasing by 10% for a total volume of 506,896.
Bohol registered a 21% growth in foreign arrivals and 10% increase in domestic visitors. Tourist volume to this destination accounted for 4.3% of the total traffic to major destinations in the third quarter of 2009. The North East Asian market accounted for the bulk of the total foreign tourists at 59%, with the Chinese and Taiwanese arrivals posting a share of 23% and 16%, respectively.
Arrivals to Puerto Princesa City rose by 18% with foreign tourist growing faster at 23% vis-à-vis domestic visitor volume which went up by 17%. In the third quarter alone, influx of tourists to Puerto Princesa City posted a 34% growth, the highest registered among all destinations during the period under review. Increase in the meetings, conferences and incentive travel market in the destination triggered the hefty growth in visitor volume.
During the first nine months, the volume of domestic tourist increased by 21% while foreign tourist grew by 2.7%. This performance positioned the industry for greater growth in the fourth quarter. (PIA) [top]