Cebu’s attractions still bring in more Koreans

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |March 12,2018 - 10:54 PM

Even with the surge of Chinese tourists in Cebu, the arrivals of Korean nationals continue to grow.

The varied tourist attractions, which include world-class beach resorts, cultural festivities, well-preserved historical sites, and local cuisine, are the key reasons for the continued influx of Korean tourists, as well as other Asian nationals, in the province and the rest of Central Visayas, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7.

“Like what Secretary Wanda Teo says, more than anything else, it’s the unique and genuine Filipino hospitality and the Cebuano charm that attract Korean, Japanese, and Chinese visitors to the region,” DOT-7 Regional Director Shalimar Tamano said in a statement.

Tamano was among the guests during a recent gathering with officials of the Korean Consulate in Cebu and members of the Korean Travel Agencies Association (KOTAA).

The tourism official pointed out that aside from Cebu’s good mix of tourist spots, it is also the peace and order situation in the region that contributes to Cebu’s tourism boom as well as improved connectivity and the renowned hospitality of Filipinos.

This is why Tamano said that during the meeting, he assured constant coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the military authorities in ensuring the safety of Korean visitors in the region, specifically in Cebu.

According to Tamano, data from the DOT-7 showed that there were over 840,000 tourists from South Korea who arrived in Central Visayas in 2016.

Most of these Korean tourists spent time in Cebu’s islands like Mactan, Bantayan, Camotes, Sumilon, and Malapascua as well as in Cebu City.

While saying that the DOT-7 is still finalizing their statistics on tourist arrivals for 2017, Tamano said there is a possibility that the number of Korean tourists could reach one million last year.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Cebu would soon be known as Seoul of the Philippines, Koreans’ home away from home,” he added.

Sought for comment, Consul General Oh Sung-Yong of the Korean Consulate in Cebu noted that the number of Korean tourist arrivals in Central Visayas grew by 26 percent in 2017 compared to 2016.

He said their data was from the Bureau of Immigration at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

“The Korean Consulate in Cebu will try to boost mutual exchanges continuously to keep this growing trend. The most important thing in keeping this trend is the safety of the foreign nationals in the region,” Oh told Cebu Daily News.

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