Cebu City drew 403,326 international visitors in 2005, making the “queen city of the south” the top provincial destination of foreign travelers. Data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) also showed that Cebu City attracted 1,813 overseas Filipinos and 712,938 domestic travelers last year.
Total number of travelers in the city went up by 10.5 percent to 1.118 million in 2005 from 1.012 million in 2004. Arrivals in Cebu are expected to peak in December 2006, when the city hosts the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leader’s Summit and the 4th ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.
Government officials and business leaders from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam will troop to Cebu to discuss the future of ASEAN integration.
Also expected to participate are delegates from Japan, China, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and European Union. This early, the 20 hotels in Cebu have been reporting full occupancy rates, with the influx of Japanese and Korean tourists, despite the recent opening of five-star accommodation facilities like Marco Polo Hotel and Hilton.
Other large hotels in Metro Cebu include Marriot, Waterfront, Midtown, Rajah Park, Diplomat, Northwinds, Sarrosa, Parklane, Crown Regency, GV, Mango Park, Richmonde, Golden Prince, Metropak, Crowne Garden, Grand Hotel, Montebello, Century Golden Peak, Holiday Plaza and Century Plaza.
Aside from Cebu, other top destinations of international visitors outside Metro Manila in 2005 were Aklan, the province which covers the world-class resort island of Boracay, with 157,638; Laguna, home of the Pagsanjan Falls, with 149,531; Pampanga, where Clark Field is located, with 76,133; and Palawan, with 70,066.
Occupying the 11th to 20th list of favorite destinations were Ifugao, site of the Banaue Rice Terraces, Negros Occidental, Baguio City, Iloilo, Cavite, Negros Oriental, Cagayan de Oro City, Batangas, Camiguin, and Ormoc City.
Data showed that some 1.414 million international travelers, 125,476 overseas Filipinos, and 13.631 million domestic tourists for a total of 15.171 million visited the country’s tourist attractions outside Metro Manila in 2005. The figure was 15.8 percent higher than the 13.103 million local and foreign tourists who visited the provinces last year.