TOP DESTINATION. Siargao Island in the province of Surigao del Norte posted a growth rate of 32.85 in tourist arrivals during the first half of 2019, the data from the Department of Tourism in Caraga Region show. Domestic and foreign arrivals also grew during the period, with rates of 39.16 percent and 20.22 percent growth rates, respectively. (PNA photo by Alexander Lopez)

BUTUAN CITY -- The tourist arrivals in two well-known islands in Caraga Region increased during the first three quarters of 2019, the Department of Tourism in the area (DOT-13) said.

In the Province of Dinagat Islands (PDI), tourist arrivals recorded a growth rate of 47.41 percent during the first three quarters of 2019 with a total arrival of 76,389 compared to 51,822 numbers of tourist arrivals in the same period in 2018, DOT-13 records show.

Domestic tourists topped the number of arrivals in Dinagat during the period, with 47.41 growth rate or 75,596 in number compared to 51,213 recorded in 2018.

Visits of foreign tourists in PDI during the period also increased to 793 or a 30.21 growth rate compared to 609 visits in 2018.

DOT-13 OIC-Director Mary Jean A. Camarin told reporters on Wednesday that Dinagat has registered a consistent growth rate in tourist arrivals in the past years.

Data from the agency showed that Dinagat recorded a 3.15 increase in tourist arrivals in 2018 compared to 2017.

Camarin said that among the factors that contributed to the increase in tourist arrivals in PDI include the improvements in tourism facilities, accessibility to the island and the effective information drives of the LGU.

In 2018, the accommodation capacity in Dinagat increased to 12.12 percent compared to 2017, the data from DOT-13 said.

A comparative occupancy rate data from the agency also indicated the 279.57 percent increase in the province, or from 7.88 percent in 2017 to 29.91 percent in 2018.

Meanwhile, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte's prime tourist destination, also posted significant growth in tourist arrivals during the first six months in 2019, data from the DOT-13 show.

Tourist arrivals in Siargao posted a 32.85 percent growth rate during the period, or a total of 118,351 arrivals compared to 89,084 in 2018.

Of the total number of arrivals in Siargao during the first half last year, 84,658 were domestic while 33,693 were foreign. The domestic arrivals posted a 39.16 percent increase and foreigners account for 20.22 percent, the data said.

Camarin said the increase in accessibility to Siargao Island helped increase the number of tourist visits last year.

“Siargao has 12 flights per day connecting the island to Manila, Clark, Cebu, and Davao,” she added.

She also took note of the additional sea vessels, particularly the fast crafts that recently ferry passengers from Surigao City to Siargao.

“Newly-developed tourism products are also emerging in Siargao,” Camarin noted, as she also mentioned the two international water sports that are held yearly in the island, the International Game Fishing Competition in Pilar town and the International Surfing Competition in General Luna.

She also expressed optimism to upturn in tourist arrivals in Siargao this 2020 given its recent international recognition as among the top destinations in the world. (PNA)