Tourist arrivals on the rebound, more than doubles 2021 total

For the first half of 2022, the province of Catanduanes recorded a total of 61,825 domestic and foreign tourist arrivals, more than doubling last year’s total in a sign that the tourism industry on the island is bouncing back.

The 2022 total represents a growth rate of nearly 112 percent compared to the 29,166 arrivals recorded in 2021, the Provincial Tourism Office reported last week.

Of the 61,825 arrivals, only 15 were foreign, the statistics showed, but still a definite improvement from 2021 when there were zero arrivals from other countries.

In 2020 at the height of the country’s pandemic quarantine restrictions, 871 foreign tourists visited the island, just over 10 percent of the 7,082 who came to Catanduanes in 2019.

The six-month figure is also just over 25 percent of the 242,408 total domestic and foreign arrivals for 2019.

On a quarterly basis, the 24,396 tourist arrivals for the January-March 2022 period is a 70-percent increase from last year’s 14,271 in the first quarter while the 37,429 visitors in the April-June time frame is a 151-percent uptick from the meager 14,895 arrivals in the same period in 2021.

The six-month tourist arrival data for 2022 translate to P74,172,000 domestic gross receipts and US$79,547 foreign gross receipts and generated a total of 75,426 jobs during the period.

It’s Virac for now

Virac, having the highest number of accommodation establishments in the province, remains the top tourism player in the province, recording 48,084 tourist arrivals from January to June 2022.

Included in the top five accommodation establishments with highest recorded tourist arrivals are Twin Rock Beach Resort with 8,848; Sunset Coast, 5,172; Villa Tolledo Tourist Inn, 5,004; ARDCI Corporate Inn, 4,362; and Amenia Beach Resort, with 4,246 tourist arrivals.

As the tourism hub of the Happy Island, Virac also bested other municipalities in recording the most number of same-day visitors, totaling 51,022. It was followed by Bato, 20,777; Pandan, 19,571; San Andres, 16,740; and Baras, with 16, 200.

Who doesn’t love beaches and nature?

Eight out of the top 10 most visited tourist attractions in the province belong to the tourism portfolio sun and beach and nature-based.

Twin Rock Beach Resort surpassed all tourist attractions in the province, recording 48.60% of the capital town’s same-day visitors, with 24,797. Sunset Coast in Virac and Nahulugan Falls in Gigmoto followed with 9,946 and 9,900 same-day visitors, respectively.

Joining the two sun and beach tourism attractions are both from Virac: Mamangal Beach, 7,590 and Oliver’s Riff Mamangal Beach Resort with 6,244 same-day visitors.

San Miguel Nature Spring Resort in Panganiban with 6,469 same-day visitors; Maribina Falls in Bato, 5,730; and Binurong Point in Baras, 5,283, are the three other nature-based tourism attractions that also landed on the top 10 list.

Other tourist attractions completing the top ten are Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine in San Andres with 9,299 and H20 Resort in Viga with 8,248 same-day visitors.

The peak season of tourists in the province is still summertime, with the start of the surge during the Holy Week until the month of May.

Tourism beyond the numbers

Provincial Tourism Officer Carmel Bonifacio-Garcia stated that as the Happy Island heads for more full reopening of tourist attractions, these numbers will continue rising.

“We are positive that these reflect the current state of our local tourism industry. Hopefully, the numbers will continue to increase in the coming months,” she explained.

Ms. Bonifacio-Garcia further emphasized the tourism office’s efforts in attaining a more sustainable local tourism industry.

“As of the moment, the DOT Regional Office V in partnership with the Provincial Tourism Office and our municipal LGUs have already conducted capability buildings for our community-based tourism organizations. We are eyeing more training and workshops to help them as they bounce back,” she said.

“Their accreditation is important to help them professionalize their tour-guiding service. Let this also be a call to our tourism-related establishments and partners to get accredited or renew your accreditation to the DOT,” she added.

The tourism officer also conveyed her anticipation for the province’s founding anniversary in less than two months.

“October is fast approaching. Now that we’ll celebrate our 77th Catandungan Festival, expect that we will bring more face-to-face festival activities with you,” the tourism officer concluded.

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