By Erwin M. Mascariñas
Department of Tourism (DOT) in Caraga Region is optimistic that the tourist arrivals towards the end of the year and the rest of 2019 will continue to increase as more tourist prefer the region as a one stop destination for the different tourism hot spot.
DOT Caraga Region head Ana Nuguid, expressed that all the signs are pointing out to the steady increase in tourism for the region.
She said over the past few months, they have observed the increase in the domestic and foreign tourist arrival in Caraga region.
Data provided by DOT Caraga Region 13 revealed that for the first quarter of 2018, a total of 303,014 tourists were visited in the region, which is 2.02% higher than what they had for 2017 at around 297,015, according to Nuguid.
“Now we are still yet to finalize the data we have for the second and third quarter of 2018, but we are sure that the spike would be drastically higher than that of 2017, as we’ve seen the surge of guests in Siargao Island since April,” said Nuguid.
DOT Caraga shows that the biggest contributor in the increase in tourists in the region for the first quarter has been for those visiting Surigao del Norte where Siargao Island is located.
About 56,310 visitors for the first quarter of 2018 were recorded for Surigao del Norte compared to 45,626 of 2017 or 23.42% increase.
Butuan City recorded the highest number of tourist arrival in the region with 89,444 tourists for 2018 compared to 83,169 for 2017, as the city is the major transport hub and capital of the Caraga.
“We are slowly seeing the trend, as more areas are being developed, we can see more visitors will enjoy their stay and the tour packages meant for tourists in the region,” said Nuguid.
Siargao Island and several tourist spots in the area in Surigao del Norte remains on top tourist destination.
“We are also promoting several areas throughout Caraga region which stands on its town in terms of its amazing natural beauty,” said Nuguid.
Nuguid also said the province of Surigao del Sur holds several key tourist spots like the Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig City, the Turquoise natural pool waters of Enchanted River in Hinatuan, the fine white sand and crystal clear waters of the Britannia islands in San Agustin and the seasonal waves of Laswitan in the town of Cortez.
DOT Caraga is looking at several other new lagoons and island destinations in the region that will entice interests tourists.