Tourism, information and communication technology (ICT), construction and retail trade were the driving forces of the economy of Central Visayas in the second quarter, according to a regional economic situationer by the National Economic Development Authority Region 7 (Neda-7).
The report said development in the second quarter was driven by a rise in tourist arrivals, increased investments and election-related spending.
Neda-7 said tourism in the second quarter remains bullish. Foreign tourist arrivals in the region reached 155, 804 during the period up 30.7 percent from last year's 119, 226.
Data from the Department of Tourism show that Siquijor posted the highest growth in visitor arrivals among the four provinces in region 7. Tourist arrivals in the province rose to 4,944 in the second quarter this year, up 21.4 percent from last year's 4,072.
Tourist arrivals to Cebu rose to 364,425 in the second quarter, up 20.5 percent from 302,490.
Negros Oriental's tourist arrivals increased 10.7 percent or 43, 457 tourists during the period from last year's 39, 251.
Bohol reported the lowest tourist growth rate at only 0.8 percent to 64,476 arrivals this year from last year's 63, 986.
Meanwhile, ICT-enabled services such as call centers and other business process outsourcing players continued to invest in the region.
In Cebu alone, US-based ePerformax opened its office at the JY Square Mall with a 400-seat facility. Convergys Philippines also opened a second facility at the AsiaTown IT Park, Cebu City. Its first facility is located in Banawa, also in Cebu.
Neda-7 added that Accenture, a global management, consulting, technology services and outsourcing company will open its Cebu facility in the third quarter.
In an interview with Cebu Daily News last August during the opening of Accenture's 700-seat facility at the Cebu Business Park, country managing director Beth Lui said ?Cebu is capable of providing us the talent pool we need.?
On construction, real estate developments in the region continue to spur growth with more disposable income from overseas Filipino workers.
Projects such as Pueblo El Grande in Tayud Consolacion, Cebu and EGI Cebu Mactan Condominium Hotel were completed in the second quarter.
An ongoing development is Marco Polo Plaza's Phase 2 multi-million peso development project, which includes recreational and sports facilities.
Bigfoot Entertainment is also expected to invest $3 million to build state-of-the-art film-making facilities at the South Road Properties.
Neda-7 said tourist arrivals and the increased disposable income of call center agents have contribute to the ?strong performance? of the retail industry in the second quarter.
Retail establishments such as La Nueva Supermarket in Cebu City opened another store in Lapu-Lapu city. Retail giants Ayala and SM also have ongoing expansion projects.
The report also noted that consumer spending both in urban and rural areas increased as a result of election-related spending.