Declaring that the tourism industry of Negros Occidental has fully recovered from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, Provincial Tourism Officer Cheryl Decena yesterday disclosed that the visit of more than two million tourists has initially generated P6 billion income last year, surpassing the figures of about P4.5 billion in 2022.
Decena said she expects the P6 billion income and number of tourist arrivals to further increase, as soon as other local government units submit their reports.
Decena disclosed that Negros Occidental registered an initial increase of 36 percent in tourist arrivals last year, compared to 2022.
We are now hitting 690,000 overnight tourists, although the 2023 report is just 90 percent completed, compared to 510,000 overnight guests in 2022, she said.
Day visitors, Decena added, have risen from 1.7 million in 2022, to two million already this year, which she expects to further increase, after final reports are submitted.
“With the double digit growth we can safely say that we have fully recovered,” she pointed out.
Decena said they are trying to capacitate accommodation establishments, for them to serve local tourists and foreigners.
She identified the top 10 tourist destinations in Negros Occidental in 2022, as officially declared by the Department of Tourism – Western Visayas, as the Ruins and Campuestuhan in Talisay, Magikland in Silay City, Sipaway Island in San Carlos City, Mambukal in Murcia, Tomongtong Eco Trail in EB Magalona, City Resort in Victorias City, Lakawon in Cadiz City, and Guintubdan in La Carlota City.
In terms of tourist arrivals, LGUs with the most number of tourist arrivals include the cities of Sipalay, San Carlos, Kabankalan, Silay, Cadiz, and Talisay, Decena said, noting that most of their tourism programs are in place.
Ten percent of the tourists who visited the province, excluding highly urbanized Bacolod City, are mostly citizens of the United States, Korea, Germany, Canada, Australia, China and Japan, she added.
(Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy by TVDS)