TACLOBAN CITY, March 11 (PNA) — Revenue from tourism activities in Eastern Visayas rose to PHP8.08 billion in 2015 from PHP7.09 billion a year ago, the National Economic and Development Authority said, citing preliminary data.

The 2015 figure is 2.3 percent higher than the target revenue of PHP7.9 billion outlined in the 2014-2016 updated Regional Development Plan.

“Foreign receipts in 2015 amounted to PHP335.9 million. Domestic receipts, on the other hand, posted a 13.5 percent growth from the prior year, which translates to impressive PHP7.74 billion revenue,” said NEDA Regional Director Bonifacio Uy.

The 2015 income derived from domestic tourist is a “giant leap” from the PHP2.1 billion revenue in 2012, “making domestic tourism the backbone of the industry.”

Tourism activities have increased the hotel accommodations to 6,314 in 2015 or a 67 percent growth than a year ago.

“We are happy that NEDA acknowledges that tourism is giving the economy a push because agriculture has been down after super typhoon Yolanda,” said Department of Tourism Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes.

The official believes that the region is reaping the benefits from efforts to promote the region as a destination for adventure tourism and historical tours.

“We have participated in various national and international events to make tourists aware what the region could offer,” she said.

Tiopes reported that there have been new tourism destinations in the region as more people in the private sector have been actively involved in tourism development, as their contribution to post-Yolanda recovery.

The DOT and tourism stakeholders will come up with a tourism roadmap as a basis for the drafting of the Regional Development Plan for 2017 to 2022. (PNA)