MANILA, Philippines – According to top tourist destinations, arrivals grew by 17% or 5.2 million in the third quarter of 2009.

Cebu regained its lead as the most visited destination with 1.24 million visitors, posting a growth rate of 1.8% vis-à-vis the previous year volume of 1.21 million. The opening of new tourism destinations, products, facilities and activities as well as increased in flight frequencies of major airlines from Manila and other islands in the Visayas and Mindanao to Cebu gave impetus for enhanced domestic travel movement.

Tourist influx to Camarines Sur remained robust as domestic visitors increased by 163% while foreign arrivals rose by 29% for an overall growth of 124.6% or 1.23 million tourists. Major events such as the International Kite Boarding Competition, World Wakeboarding Competition, Ironman Run, and the International Dragon Boat Competition have greatly contributed not only towards increasing awareness but also growth in international travel to the destination.

Despite the lean season in the third quarter, tourist arrivals to Boracay Island rose by 5.3% with domestic visitors fast increasing by 10% for a total volume of 506,896.

Bohol registered a 21% growth in foreign arrivals and 10% increase in domestic visitors. Tourist volume to this destination accounted for 4.3% of the total traffic to major destinations in the third quarter of 2009. The North East Asian market accounted for the bulk of the total foreign tourists at 59%, with the Chinese and Taiwanese arrivals posting a share of 23% and 16%, respectively.

Arrivals to Puerto Princesa City rose by 18% with foreign tourist growing faster at 23% vis-à-vis domestic visitor volume which went up by 17%. In the third quarter alone, influx of tourists to Puerto Princesa City posted a 34% growth, the highest registered among all destinations during the period under review. Increase in the meetings, conferences and incentive travel market in the destination triggered the hefty growth in visitor volume.

During the first nine months, the volume of domestic tourist increased by 21% while foreign tourist grew by 2.7%. This performance positioned the industry for greater growth in the fourth quarter.