BACOLOD City, the capital of Negros Occidental, registered more tourists in the first five months of the year compared to the arrivals during the same period last year, reports from the City Tourism Office (CTO) showed.
The highly-urbanized city was visited by 352,927 tourists from January to May 2017, higher than the 349,455 tourists in 2016.
Of the total arrivals this year, 318,888 were domestic tourists and 34,039 were foreign guests.
The CTO reported that Bacolod posted the biggest number of tourists in May, at 83,695.
Ma. Elma Gerasmo, city tourism officer, said tourist arrivals normally increase during summer season as more visitors are spending vacations in local resorts.
“Bacolod is an entry point and gateway to other cities and municipalities in the province which offer a lot of tourism products and services in demand during summer,” Gerasmo said.
CTO reported that in January this year, 64,079 local and foreign tourists visited Bacolod.
It decreased to 57,528 in February, but recovered in March at 74, 957. Tourist arrivals in April slightly went down to 72,668.
In 2016, Bacolod recorded 61,762 tourists in January; February, 76,472; March, 62,167; April, 78,781; and May, 70,273.
All in all, there is an increase of 3,472, or only less than one percent in the number of tourists in Bacolod in first five months of 2017 compared to the same period last year.
Gerasmo said the small growth rate is attributed to the various crime incidents and terrorism threats in the country.
The travel advisories following the Abu Sayyaf encounter in Bohol, Resorts World Manila attack, and the ongoing clash in Marawi City have brought tourism industry setback not only in these areas but to the whole country as well, she added.
Gerasmo, however, said they are still optimistic to reach the 12 percent target increase this year amid slight improvement noted in the first part of 2017.
“Marketing and promotion efforts for the MassKara Festival in October have been strengthened to attract more tourists,” she said, adding that this is on top of various summits and gatherings to be held in the city this year.