1. Inbound Booking:
In the first quarter of 2016, travel agents recorded a total of 3,105 inbound travel bookings. In the month of March, out of 58 registered establishments, only 6 travel agents submitted their inbound booking monthly report. Noticeably, the total of respondents of both month of January and February is higher compared to the month of March resulting to a lower turn-out of inbound bookings being recorded (Table 1).
2. Aircraft Passenger Arrivals
Ten (10) consistent aircrafts disembarked the city’s international standard airport throughout the 1st quarter of 2016 compared to the 1st quarter of 2015 which only have seven (7). Cebu Pacific added an aircraft with flight number CEBUPAC5J990 and started its daily flights in General Santos this year. Philippine Airline also added an aircraft with flight number PALGAP2892 which started providing daily flights in General Santos last March 2015. During the 1st quarter of 2016, passenger arrivals increased to 16,560 or 16% compared to the 1st quarter of 2015. A total of 33,837 passengers arrived in the month of March making it the highest count of passenger arrivals of the 1st quarter.
Series of private-owned aircrafts (General Aviation) disembarking the city’s international airport due to election related campaigns affected the aircraft passenger arrivals report with a total of 442 passengers in the 1st quarter of 2016 (Table 2).
3. Tourist Arrivals
During the 1st quarter of 2016, tourist arrival exhibited an increase 21,565 or 23% in the 1st quarter of 2016. Total guest nights rose to 12,239 or 9%. The month February has the most number of guests with 41,767 guests and month of March having the highest increase of number of guest with 53% increase rate. Despite the decreasing number of accommodation establishment respondents, still, the city recorded more respondents compared to last year’s 1st quarter. The number of registered accommodation establishments increased by 29 or 32% on average compared to last year’s 1st quarter and the number of rooms summed to 690 or 10% (Table 3).
4. Foreign Visitor Arrivals
By specific country, U.S. remained the top contributor of foreign visitor arrivals with 447 visitors or 22.76% of total arrivals. Koreans supplied the second biggest arrival accounted with 16.34% or with 321 arrivals while the Chinese ranked third with a total of 10.03% contributing 197 arrivals. Meanwhile, Japan provided 9.62% or 189 arrivals and Australians registered 4.9% or 97 arrivals. Other nationalities contributed to foreign visitor arrivals with 36.30% or 713 visitors. Foreign visitor arrivals throughout the 1st quarter 2016 decreased by 31% (Table 4).
5. Meetings, Incentive Travels, Conventions, and Events
As of March, Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibits & Events (M.I.C.E.) 2016 exhibited more than 122 events or 14% increase rate compared to last year’s 1st quarter. Though there were an increase number of events, attendance of domestic and foreign visitors decreased by 27,571 visitors or 25%. Moreover, M.I.C.E.’s number of accommodation establishment respondents rose by 11 respondents or 11% increase rate. Further, the month of March exhibited the highest total number of events with 486 events and gained 40% increase rate compared to last year (Table 5).
6. Tour Operators
Tour operation, business and services during 1st quarter exhibited high number of local and foreign tourist served. Regrettably, total number of respondents decreased by 77%. However, despite the decrease, total number of local and foreign served increased by 1504% or 914 tourists served compared to last year’s 1st quarter. The inflation occurred in the month of March –summer time with 854 local and tourist serve contributing 93.43% of the total local and foreign tourist served (Table 6).
7. Daytime Tourists
Daytime Tourists during the 1st quarter exhibited high rate of total respondents with 50 establishments and 28% increase rate compared to last year. The increase of respondents being registered contributed to the number of tourists served with a total of 213,299 tourists or 43% increase rate in arrival. Throughout the 1st quarter, the city’s tourism destinations (nature, adventure and culture) attracted more tourists compared to last year’s 1st quarter (Table 7).
8. Total Tourist Arrivals
GenSan’s total number of its 1st quarter tourists arrivals comprises of tourist arrival from the accommodation establishment which decreased to 5% or 114,104 tourists; tour packages of the city that 914 tourist availed and 213,229 daytime tourists. Compared to 1st quarter of 2015 with 243,517 tourist arrivals, 1st quarter of 2016 got total tourist arrivals of 328,247 or 35% increase rate (Table 8).
From 328,247 tourist arrivals multiplied by the average expenditure of tourist which is two thousand five hundred pesos (Php 2,500.00), the tourist arrivals already generated an income of eight hundred twenty million six hundred seventeen thousand and five hundred pesos (Php 820,617,500.00) in the 1st quarter alone. This amount is derived from tourist arrivals per accommodation establishment that have accumulated a income of two hundred eighty-five million two hundred sixty thousand pesos (Php 285,260,000.00); tour operation and services accumulated two million two hundred eighty-five thousand pesos (Php 2,285,00.00) and daytime tourists spent five hundred million seventy-two thousand and five hundred pesos (Php 533,072,500.00) on destinations. During the 1st quarter, the tourism industry is earning two hundred seventy-three million five hundred thirty-nine thousand and one hundred sixty-six pesos (Php 273,539,166.00) per month. With the above figures, income of this year’s 1st quarter grew 51.52% higher compared to the monthly earnings last year.
One can assume that tourism industry in General Santos City continues to grow. The tourism industry’s contribution to local economy is bound to increase with the increasing number of tourism related establishments every year and upcoming investments of the city.
SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
As tourism related establishment (TRE) being registered increases, there is a need to strengthen the implementation of Ordinance 20, Series of 2014 and its compliance by TREs. As seen on Tables 1, 3 and 6, the gap between the total number of registered establishment and total number of respondents is widening. Tour operators and ticketing agencies in General Santos City should be enforced to submit their monthly reports. Failing to do such submission can affect tourism statistical data of the city. For the tourism division to present sound and comprehensive report it is needed that 100% of all TREs should comply with the ordinance or submit their monthly report. Thus, providing quality tourism data for the constituents of the city.