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Philippine tourism gets an extra boost as Siargao goes increasingly popular for local and international travelers. Deemed as "Asia's Best Island" by Condé Nast (CN) Traveler, the popular teardrop-shaped island in Surigao del Norte was recognized as top location out of the best 30 islands in the world.
In the last quarter of 2018, the Department of Tourism recorded 163,245 domestic and foreign visitors from January to June alone. This is 24.54% increase in tourist arrivals on the island compared to 2017 data.
Siargao has established itself as one of the top surfing and tourist locations in the country as it is well known for its massive waves, pristine beaches, and relaxed nature. Some of its destinations are more popular than others such as the Cloud 9 Surf Spot, Taktak falls, and General Luna's Guyam, Daku, and Naked islets. Cementing its cult-like following, many local and foreign businesses are beginning to take notice of the investment potential of the other areas in Janoyoy and Lisob islands.
Improving Accessibility in Siargao
The Philippine government seeks to keep the momentum by improving the accessibility of the island. Additional flights to Siargao are being routed from Manila, Clark, and Cebu by top Philippine airline carriers. In fact, the government has allocated 40 million pesos to tackle the feasibility study and site acquisition for the improved Siargao airport.
More recently, the Department of Transportation has also been receiving a proposal from private agencies that seek to make Siargao easier to visit. Transportation Undersecretary Manuel Tamayo confirmed that the Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions offered to improve Sayak Airport. According to him, they have a proposal to operate, maintain and develop the airport but it is still being evaluated since the initial plan is to transfer it to a better site.
Tourism to bring better livelihood, opportunities
As Siargao takes center stage, other provincial industries are expected to take off. According to Agrea, male farmers on the island are taking advantage of the booming tourism opportunities brought about the recent boost. There are many opportunities opening as the island continues to gain local and international interest.
In 2018, the Tourism Promotions Board's "Cine Tourismo" featured a full-length film on Siargao. This initiative from the Department of Tourism helped propagate film tourism further in the country, providing more jobs and investments in the country.
Aside from tourism, the agricultural sector in Surigao proved to be extremely viable as women farmers begin to step up for the role. This now makes the island a hub for fresh farm produce sold in real farm-to-markets that adds more value to the region.