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A female surfer heads off towards a surf break as the sun rises in the horizon in General Luna, Siargao Island. (photo by Erwin Mascariñas)

Siargao braces for sharp rise in number of tourists due to accolade

By ERWIN MASCARIÑAS
Correspondent .

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) in Caraga is anticipating a spike in tourist arrivals in Siargao Island as a result of its being named  “Best Island in Asia” by the Condé Nast Traveler.

The luxury travel publication CN Traveler said its readers ranked the 30 best islands in the world outside the United States in the 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards survey, covering from far-flung stunners in Southeast Asia to volcanic outcrops in the Mediterranean.

This year, instead of doing a 30-spot worldwide list as it has done in previous years, CN Traveler revealed the results on Tuesday, breaking down the top islands in the world by region.

“We believe that with this recognition given to Siargao Island, the number of tourists in the island will spike as more people both domestic and foreign will be curious as to why Siargao Island was voted as this year’s ‘Best Island in Asia,’” said Ana Nuguid, regional director for DOT in Caraga.

The published survey stated that surfers are the vanguard of travelers, scoping out some of the more remote parts of the world for surf breaks before the rest of us get there.

“Siargao, the teardrop-shaped Philippine island home to more than 15 separate surf breaks, including the legendary Cloud 9, which counts surfing superstar Kelly Slater and Red Hot Chili Peppers Anthony Kedis among its fans has been popular for a few years, but our readers, an adventurous sort, have caught on. There’s enough white sand to go around,” said CN Traveler.

Nuguid said Siargao’s reputation “is a huge help in promoting the island destination to the rest of the world.”

Data from DOT-Caraga show that there has been a significant increase in the number of tourist arrivals in Siargao Island.

Based on the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2018 covering January to June, DOT recorded an increase of 24.54 percent or about 163,245 domestic and foreign visitors for 2018 compared to the 2017 data of 131,079 tourists who visited the island.

“The sudden jump this year in the increase of tourist arrivals for Siargao Island is just the beginning,” she added.

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