Preliminary and partial data suggests the continuing downturn in the region’s tourism industry with a 26.1 percent year-on-year decline in tourist arrivals. Despite a recorded doublefold year-on-year increase in balikbayan arrivals, there were significant drops in domestic and foreign tourist arrivals of 26.3 and 28.2 percent, respectively. Compared to the previous quarter, however, total tourist arrivals increased by 21.3 percent with the second quarter a traditional peak season for tourism actvities in the region.
With no report from Abra, almost all provinces registered sharp declines in arrivals except Benguet that recorded an 8.5 percent year-on-year increase and 71.8 percent quarter-on-quarter increase. Arrivals to Benguet numbered 83,875 this quarter compared to 77,275 in the same quarter last year and 48,826 in the previous quarter.
Arrivals in Ifugao numbered just 15,923 this quarter compared to 24,658 last year, or a 35.4 percent decline. This was accompanied by declines in Kalinga, Apayao and Mountain Province at 49.2, 68.9 and 57.2 percent, respectively. With the Banaue Rice Terraces still a major attraction especially foreign tourists, the local government of Banaue has just recently appealed again for help from the national government and the international community for the continuing preservation of its famed rice terraces as a major international attration to sustain the local tourism industry. This appeal comes in the wake of UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) determined move to delist the rice terraces as a world heritage site due to its continuing deterioration.
Baguio City that continues to account for the bulk of regional visitors suffered a 32.3 percent year-on-year decline receiving just 135,028 tourists this quarter compared to 199,397 last year. Competition from other popular destinations along with its continuing poor image remain the major reasons for the continuing drop in visitor arrivals to the City.
Tourism receipts also fell to Php2.186 billion this quarter from the Php2.959 billion in the same quarter of last year. But on a quarter-on-quarter performance, this quarter’s earnings was stll higher than the previous quarter’s Php1.801 billion or up by 21.3 percent.
With the full operationalization of NERBAC (National Economic Research and Business Assistance Center) in all the provinces to help attract investments and continuing implementation of OTOP (One Town One Product) Flagship Projects, DTI-registered investments were up year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter. Total investments reached Php753.51 million this quarter from Php545.03 million the previous quarter and also higher than the Php621.66 million registered in the same quarter last year. However, employment generated from these investments was still on the decline mainly due to the change in Business Name (BN) Policy that took effect in October 2010 where the new required registration form is not able to capture data on employment.
With a threefold increase in stock corporation investments, total SEC-registered investments doubled this quarter amounting to Php14.781 million from the previous year’s level of Php7.178 million. However, this quarter’s take is lower compared to the Php20.650 registered in the previous quarter. Stock corporation investments reached Php12.981 million this quarter, up from the Php4.598 million in the same period last year and also higher than the Php16.170 million of the previous quarter. Partnership investments was however down both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter reaching just Php1.800 million this quarter. Meanwhile, recorded PEZA investments this quarter amounted to Php3,256.407 million that are actual incremental investments of Moog Controls Corporation as of March 2011.