MANILA-- The Department of Tourism (DOT) Central Visayas has tallied around 6.9 million tourist arrivals from January to December 2017, recording a 17.13 percent growth rate from 2016.

According to the agency, this figure surpassed its 6.3 million target for the said year.

DOT attributed the increase to the active movement of Filipinos travelling to different destinations in the Philippines. This boosted Cebu and Central Visayas' tourism industry, as domestic travelers dominated the arrival volume by 58.33 percent or with four million locals visiting Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

The top ten tourism markets recorded by DOT Region VII, included Korea, with the highest at 895,776 followed by China with a volume of 429,306, Japan with 408,566, and US with 219,796.

DOT-7 also recorded a total of 71,739 visitors coming from Taiwan, Australia with 71,724, Germany with 58 432, followed by France with 50,257, UK with 49,484, and Canada in tenth place with 43,084 registered tourists.

The tourist influx can also be attributed to the increase of direct international commercial and chartered flights to Cebu from other countries.

DOT said Cebu and Bohol have become a choice venue for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), including the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) meetings last year.

Meanwhile, Lapu-Lapu City, Panglao, Dumaguete City and Tagbilaran City also recorded a competitive number of tourist arrivals.

Aside from massive promotions, the implementation of the Tourism Road Infrastructure Projects has also contributed to visitors coming in, due to greater access to tourist sites in the region. (PNA)