South Cotabato’s enhanced tourism development and promotion initiatives have continued to gain ground as the area’s tourist arrivals posted anew a significant growth during the first half of the year.
Anna Liza Mondejar, tourism officer of the South Cotabato arts, culture, tourism, museum development and promotions unit, said Monday they recorded a total 241,883 foreign and local visitors within the province’s 10 municipalities from January to June this year.
She said such figure is about 62 percent of the 384,296 tourists who visited the province in the entire 2014.
“These are same day visitors or excursionists and tourist who stayed for at least one night in any tourism establishment in the province,” she said.
Mondejar said they specifically recorded 204,260 domestic visitors, 1,316 foreign visitors and 36,307 overnight guests during the period.
She said Lake Sebu town, the province’s summer and tilapia capital and recently declared as the province’s corn capital, topped the domestic and foreign tourist arrivals with 22,363 overnight guests and 166,054 excursionists.
The top destinations in the area were the T’Daan Kini Falls, lake resorts, Lang Dulay weaving center, Seven Falls and its famed zipline, which is dubbed as Southeast Asia’s longest and highest zipline, she said.
Mondejar said the municipality of Norala recorded overnight visitors of 7,335, followed by Polomolok with 5,298, Tantangan with 1,164, Banga with 378, T’boli with 165 and Tupi with 41.
For same day visitors, she said Tupi town posted a total of 35,930 while T’boli recorded 3,154.
She said these records were based on reports submitted to their office by accommodation establishments, resorts and attractions province-wide.
Meantime, Mondejar said they expect the area’s recorded tourist arrivals further increase until yearend.
She said they have yet to include in their record the visitors who flocked to the province during its 49th foundation anniversary celebration and 2015 T’nalak Festival last July.
Earlier this month, Koronadal City, which is the province’s capital and component city, drew hundreds of thousands of visitors as it hosted the first Pyesta Kolon Datal: Koronadal International Folklore Festivals.
The festivity, which was hosted by the country for the first time, featured around 400 cultural performers from nine countries and seven national and regional contingents.(PNA) FFC/AVE/AC