The Zamboanga City Hall. (PNA file photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The city is emerging as a tourism destination in Western Mindanao with the ease of the pandemic restrictions and the reopening of mountain resorts and island beaches.

This came as the City Tourism Office (CTO) noted a new influx of tourists coming to the city for leisure and business based on the data they gathered from different hotels and other local accommodations.

Data gathered by the CTO showed that 160,884 tourists have visited Zamboanga City since January.

Of the 160,884 visitors, 160,419 are domestic tourists while the remaining 465 are foreigners.

“They find Zamboanga City as an ideal place for fun, leisure, and business,” said CTO chief Sarita Sebastian on Tuesday.

Sebastian is optimistic that the number of tourists will build up in the coming months with the easing of pandemic restrictions.

Currently, the CTO has lined up activities for the ongoing April 29-May 31 Zamboanga Verano Festival (Summer Festival) 2023 to attract more tourists.

On Sunday, dozens of athletes and visitors gathered for the first-ever fiesta “na Once Islas” (in 11 Islands) Aquathlon here in celebration of the festival.

Organized jointly by the CTO and the Zamboanga Runners Club, the event was a two-stage race for running and swimming and was participated by athletes of all ages.

On May 31, the festival will culminate with the Summer Wood Party at the Butterfly Garden in Pasonanca Park here. (PNA)