BAGUIO CITY (May 24) — Baguio City and the province of Ifugao remained the top foreign tourist destination last year, a report of the regional tourism office disclosed.
Baguio City received the most foreign visitors in 2006 with 30,919 or 40.0 % while Ifugao got 29,858 arrivals representing 39.0 % of all foreign tourists last year, tourism officials told the media Wednesday.
Around one-fifth of the total foreign tourists were received in four other provinces in the Cordillera. Kalinga registered 6,037 (8%); Benguet had 4,711 (6%); Mountain Province 3,673 (5%) and Abra, 1,519 (2%) . No foreign tourist was noted in Apayao in 2006.
The region received a total of 992,918 local and foreign tourists last year, according to tourism statistics, slightly higher by 15% from the previous year’s 866,242. The arrivals are highest in 2001 with 1.2 million tourists, which steadily decreased until 2004.
Korea, with 14,716 or 19.16% topped the ten foreign countries of origin, the Department of Tourism (DOT) noted, with the United States, 10,391 (13.53%) following closely. Contributing a fragment of foreign tourists to the region are Japan, 5,351 (7%) Germany, 3,991 (5.20%), Netherlands. 3,165 (4.12%) and China, 3,035 (3.95%). Other tourists came from France, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia with less than 3,000 from each.
A comparative study of tourist arrivals during the first quarters of 2006 and 2007 registered a 0.79% increase in the total tourist arrivals in the region. There was a decrease in local tourists and foreign arrivals increased by only six percent but Balikbayans contributed a 196% increase from 919 in January-March 2006 to 2,718 in January-March 2007.
The death in April of Julia Campbell, a US Peace Corps volunteer, in Ifugao seemed not to influence foreign arrivals to the province which also noted an increase in foreign visitors from last year, according to DOT Statistician Jovita Ganongan. Although no statistics has been released to the media after Campbell’s death, the DOT even noted another American tourist wanting to leave for Batad in Ifugao.
“They way the Ifugao community treated Campbell’s death and her alleged killer even boosted tourism in the province,” Ganongan told Nordis.
Nordis did not get any data on the distribution of local tourists. # Lyn V. Ramo for NORDIS, with a report from Cherie ann Nonong-Calapis