TACLOBAN CITY — The Department of Tourism in Eastern Visayas initiated some promotional projects as well as developed tourist destinations in various LGUs to attain its vision of drawing more than half a million tourists to the region by 2016.
In year 2011, a total of 365, 467 guest travelers visited Region 8 in which 338,099 or 92.51 % are Philippine residents, 24,043 or 6.58% are Non-Philippine residents and 3,325 or .91% are overseas Filipinos or Philippine passport holders permanently residing abroad. Majority of foreign tourists came from the USA, Australia, Japan, China, Germany, United Kingdom and Korea.
Of the 523,842 target tourists, 485,385 are domestic and 38,460 are foreigners. These include tourists from the region, Central Visayas and National Capital Region while target foreign tourists are from USA, Australia, Japan, Europe, Korea and China.
According to a report from the National Statistics Coordinating Board (NSCB), these foreigners visited the famous landscapes and landmarks in the region particularly the San Juanico Bridge, Palo Cathedral, Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park, Leyte Sab-a Basin Wetland Agri-Eco Park, Lake Danao, Tabuk Marine Park, and Mac Arthur National Park in Leyte; Limasawa Island, Agas Agas Adventure Park and Guinsohotan Falls in Southern Leyte;
Mainit Hot and Cold Springs, Caibiran Waterfalls, Higatangan and Sambawan Island in Biliran; Calicoan and Homonhon Islands and Amandaraga Falls in Eastern Samar; Biri Rock Formation and Capul lighthouse in Northern Samar and Sohoton National Park, Bangon Falls and Rapids and Calbiga Cave in Samar.
Eastern Visayas is world renowned for its natural ecological beauty and its historical significance during the World War II. The visiting tourists visited those places dropping themselves first in Tacloban City being the gateway and considered the economic capital of the region, being its first Highly Urbanized City.
The DZR Airport which is also being developed into an international airport also helps attract tourist from Worldwide. There are now many direct flights from Manila daily.
Meanwhile, the Tourist Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection (TOP COP) manning the Tourist Assistance Centers was revived.
In Tacloban City alone, a 50-men tourist police unit, equipped with mobile patrol vehicle, mountain bikes for easy maneuverability and handheld radios was formed to maintain peace and order within areas with high tourism traffic.
The Tourism Act of 2009 mandates the PNP establish a Tourism Security Force to assist in maintaining peace and order within areas of high tourism traffic to ensure the safety and security of tourists in the country.
“By creating a favorable image that Eastern Visayas is a safe destination, it enhances the region’s attraction as a tourism destination eventually contributing to the increase of socio-economic benefits which can be derived from tourism,” Chief Supt. Elmer Soria told the MC.
“It is more fun in the Philippines and in Eastern Visayas, when we feel safe,” the police official disclosed.