More visitors came to Iloilo City in 2018 as shown in the tourist arrivals with a significant increase of 15 percent compared to that of 2017.

City Tourism and Development Office (CTDO) recorded 1,241,010 tourist arrivals last year compared to 1,076,976 tourist arrivals in 2017.

“This increase in tourist arrivals only shows that more prefer to visit Iloilo City. We have a lot of places to show our rich culture and history. We have more hotels to accommodate them. And we have facilities where they can hold their conventions and seminars,” Mayor Jose Espinosa III said.

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There were 1,153,483 local tourists; 70,777 foreigners; and 16,750 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who visited the city last year.

City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia said the metropolis has transformed from being a “festival capital” to a favorite convention destination.

“We have also noticed that unlike previous year 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 meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE),” Divinagracia said.

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Iloilo City hosted the East Asian Congress (EAS) in November 2018 which was participated by countries such as Cambodia, China, Japan, Lao, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Timor-Leste.

“This increase in arrivals has impact on us economically since visitors spent on accommodation, transportation, restaurants, and souvenirs,” Divinagracia added.

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The greatest number of tourists was from the United States of America (USA) with 13,893 arrivals from January to February last year.

Divinagracia attributed this to the promotion during the Iloilo City Trade Mission in the US, and the city as alternative to Boracay during its closure. (Merianne Grace Ereñeta/Iloilo City PIO)

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