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RDC 7, DOT 7 to work on improved tourism stats

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The Mactan-Cebu International Airport serves as the gateway of most foreign tourists visiting Central Visayas. The island also serves as the jump-off point of these tourists in visiting other areas in the region. (Photo from Cebu Daily News)

The Regional Development Council (RDC) 7, through the Regional Statistics Committee, will work with the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 in generating timely tourism-related statistics in Central Visayas.

This after DOT 7 Regional Director Shalimar Tamano raised his concern on the need to come up with timely data on tourist arrivals during the recent RDC 7 Full Council Meeting in Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

The DOT reported that a total of 7 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines in 2017. Of this figure, 3 million, or 40 percent, went to Central Visayas—2.2 million in Cebu, 500,000 in Bohol, and the rest in other parts of the region.

These arrivals are expected to dramatically increase with the opening of two new international airport facilities—the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 (MCIA T2) and the New Bohol Panglao International Airport. The MCIA T2 added total airport arrival capacity to 12.5 million passengers, while the new airport in Panglao can accommodate 3.4 million passengers a year.

Tamano, however, lamented that the figures for 2017 came in only in March 2018.

“Tourism is the business of the region. Stakeholders need this data in allocating resources and drafting of plans,” Tamano said.

The process now is that the private sector—hotels, resorts, and other industry-related establishments—submits data to tourism officers. The data from the private sector is what the World Tourism Organization recognizes. DOT, in turn, collects these data from the tourism officers.

Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto, a co-author of the Tourism Act of 2009, assured that the Council can look into how local legislation can help enforce reporting among stakeholders.

“If we don’t have accurate statistics, government will have no idea where to prioritize infrastructure and other support systems,” he added.