Negros Oriental placed second to Cebu for the most visited provinces among local tourists with 384,809, from January to September 2015, the Department of Tourism Region 7 said.
Cebu had the largest share of both local and international tourists with 1,172, 219 million for domestic visitors, accounting for 65 percent, and 1,140,136 million for foreign arrivals, or equivalent to over 80 percent.
Bohol was third among provinces visited by local tourists with 225,344, and Siquijor with 26,358.
Bohol, however, was the preferred choice for foreign tourists after Cebu, getting 115,330 visitors, with Negros Oriental at third spot with 77,138, and Siquijor with 20,316 foreign tourists.
Total tourism arrivals in Central Visayas from both foreign and domestic visitors in the first nine months of this year grew by 4.56 percent compared to the same period last year, a government press release said.
Marlon Barrientos, tourism operations officer II of the Department of Tourism 7, presented the agency data showing that 3,172,430 million tourists visited Central Visayas for the first nine months in 2015, compared to 3,034,120 visitors of the same period last year.
Domestic tourists accounted for 1,808,730 million and foreign visitors reached 1,352,920 million arrivals from January to September, this year.
The DOT-7 presentation also showed the top 10 foreign markets for Central Visayas, with Korea as the top visitor followed by Japan, United States, China, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, France, and Taiwan.
There were 507,455 Koreans that visited the region for the first nine months this year, comprising the bulk of the foreign tourist market share at 43 percent, followed by the Japanese with 20.5 percent or 239,407, and the Americans with 10 percent, or 116,643 tourists.
Barrientos said the data for the fourth quarter, or from October to December, would be released early next year, adding that the ranking would more or less be the same, relative to foreign market share.
The DOT-7 tourism operations officer said the agency is busy preparing for the Sinulog Festival 2016 as it invited some members of the international press to cover the event as part of the tourism promotion campaign to further increase foreign tourist arrivals to Cebu and the region.*PIA