Tourist arrivals in Iloilo City went up by 15 percent, data from the City Tourism and Development Office (CTDO) showed.
The highly urbanized city attracted 1, 241, 010 tourists last year, higher compared to 2017’s 1,076,976.
Of the latest figure, 1,153,483 were local tourists, 70,777 were international visitors, and 16,750 were overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Americans accounted for the largest share of the total foreign tourists at 13,893.
Junel Ann Divinagracia, CTDO head, said aside from the Dinagyang Festival, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) held in the city also made significant contributions to the increase in tourist arrivals.
“We have noticed that [compared to] previous year[s] wherein the peak of tourist arrivals was January to February due to festivals here, in 2018, the peak months were April, November, and December. This shows that people do not only come here because of festivals, but because we are the venue for [MICE],” she said.
Last year, the biggest MICE event hosted by the city was the East Asian Congress (EAS) that was participated by around 900 delegates from Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Timor-Leste, among others
Divinagracia said the increase in tourist arrivals has a positive impact on the city’s economy.
“Our visitors spent on accommodation, transportation, restaurants, and souvenirs,” she explained.IMT