Foreign tourist arrivals drop by 30% in Region 10

By Mark Francisco

March 10, 2018, 7:07 pm

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The five-month-long armed conflict in Malawi City caused a 30 percent drop in foreign tourist arrivals in Region 10 or the Northern Mindanao region last year, data from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) showed.

Cecilio Clark Clarete, an economic specialist at NEDA Region 10, said there were only 72,972 foreign visitors in the region last year as compared to 94,961 in 2016.

The travel advisories from several countries and the Mindanao-wide martial law declaration that ensued following the armed conflict in Marawi dampened tourist arrivals in the region, Clarete explained.

Department of Tourism (DOT) 10 director Marie Elaine Unchuan earlier said that the impact of travel advisories had adversely affected the region’s tourism industry as the covered areas automatically lose insurance coverage for foreign travelers.

Data from DOT showed that the foreign tourist arrivals last year consisted mostly of Americans (11,746), Chinese (5,952), South Koreans (3,601), Indians (3,209), Australians (2,757), Japanese (2,574), Canadians (1,987), English (1,486), Germans (1,356) and Indonesians (1,165).

Counting both domestic and foreign tourists, the DOT noted there was a surge of non-residents in Lanao del Norte by 61 percent last year compared to 2016.

Clarete explained that many of these non-residents are humanitarian workers and other personnel of non-government organizations doing relief and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City.

However, last year's hotel occupancy rate remained on average level, at 40 percent.

The Marawi siege began when the ISIS-affiliated Maute militants attacked the city on May 23. When the clashes ended in late October, the military said government forces killed more than 900 terrorists. Government troops suffered at least 165 casualties. (Mark D. Francisco/PNA)