Tourist arrivals in Bohol for 2016 surged to 1,000,186 from 602,257 in the previous year posting a 39.7 percent growth, according to the Bohol Tourism Office (BTO).
Based on a data from the BTO, 731,915 or 73 percent of the visitors last year were domestic travelers while foreigners accounted for 266,313 or 26 percent of the overall figure.
Other visitors were 1,958 overseas Filipino workers, said the BTO.
Tourist arrivals in Bohol have been on an uptrend since 2013 as it posted a 35-percent growth in two years.
Based on the same data which was gathered by the BTO in coordination with the Department of Tourism-Central Visayas, tourist entries continuously rose from 389,000 in 2013 to 455,000 and 602,000 in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Last year, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)-7 director Efren Carreon projected that Bohol’s tourist arrivals would reach the million mark in 2019.
The chief economic planner in Central Visayas noted that the number of visitors would hit the target after the completion of the New Bohol Airport in 2018.
However, a BTO official pointed out that factors such as social media and improved roads and transportation means through air and sea pushed the unprecedented growth in 2016.
The official also ascribed the development to the BTO’s efforts to direct municipal tourism offices to be more diligent in taking note of tourist arrivals in their respective towns.
However, BOT head Josephine Cabarrus previously admitted that the Abu Sayyaf presence in April and May would affect the local tourism sector this year but noted that it would easily recover within a year.
“I am positive that using the same strategy of coordinated efforts and sharing of resources, we could easily be back to normal give and take a year, even less, coupled of course with a lot of work,” she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer referring to Bohol’s efforts to bounce back from the 2013 earthquake and comparing them to current recovery measures.
In mid-May, Bohol was cleared of the Abu Sayyaf after ten of its members infiltrated the town of Inabanga on April 11.
All of the bandits were killed by government security forces. (Rey Tutas)