The Department of Tourism (DOT) in Western Visayas is strengthening the marketing of other provinces to lure more tourists to other parts of the region, aside from the island-resort of Boracay.
DOT-6 Regional Director Helen Catalbas, who was in Bacolod on Tuesday for the tourism awareness conference held at L’ Fisher Hotel, said the goal is to narrow down the tourism arrivals gap between Aklan, where Boracay is situated, and other destinations in the region.
“Negros Occidental and Bacolod City can really contribute a lot in keeping the region’s tourist arrivals,” she said.
“We are pushing for further development of other provinces while maintaining Boracay.”
The world-famous island-resort was recently put in the spotlight after President Rodrigo Duterte gave a six-month deadline to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to address the issues hounding Boracay.
Catalbas said that while “cleansing” is being implemented, the promotional efforts for Boracay continues.
“There is no let-up in the marketing of Boracay and other tourist destinations in Western Visayas,” she added.
Based on the 2016 tourist arrivals, Aklan ranked first with 1.9 million visitors, followed by Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City, at number two with about 1.6 million tourists.
For 2017, DOT-6 records showed tourist arrivals reached about 5.5 million, higher than the 5.1 million in 2016.
Although the figures comprise only 95 percent of the total, the numbers indicate that Western Visayas already reached its goal of 5.5 million tourists last year.
If ever there would be a slight decline in Boracay visitors, it would be offset by
the strengths of the cities in provinces of Negros Occidental, Iloilo and Antique, Catalbas said.
This shows that all the other destinations in Region 6 are getting stronger, she added.
To attract more tourists, Western Visayas should host more events, and further improve established festivals as she also cited the region’s strength in sports tourism, Catalbas said.
Region 6 will campaign for more investments on accommodation and food sector development, she said.
“We are also banking on additional flights and boat trips to bring in more tourists to Bacolod and other Negros Occidental cities and municipalities,” the tourism official added. (PNA)