Tourist arrivals in this city are expected to return next year to the pre-pandemic level of around 800,000 visitors as monthly events are being planned as attractions.
“Our figures in 2019, which was more than 800,000 tourist arrivals, we will probably reach by 2023,” Maria Teresa Manalili, chief tourism operations officer, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
As of Wednesday, estimates showed Bacolod could hit more than 500,000 visitors by the end of the year, which is higher than the target of 400,000 visitors set by the Department of Tourism.
“We still have November and December, so we can really hit our target. How much more next year, we will have programs and activities per month,” Manalili said.
Data from the City Tourism Office showed that in 2019, the city had 803,911 visitors, but the figures dropped by -82.19 percent to only 143,114 in 2020, the year Covid-19 pandemic struck and put the global tourism industry to a halt.
In 2021, Bacolod had 147,582 visitors, which slightly increased by 3.12 percent from the 2020 figures.
During the 43rd Masskara Festival in October, at least 184,00 tourists attended the three-week festivity, which was held for the first time since 2019.
“Definitely, the city’s tourism industry has started to recover. If you ask the hotels and restaurants, they were able to recover during the Masskara Festival. It has brought a major impact to tourism as it opened the local economy,” she added.
Manalili said that in October, people were coming to Bacolod, including groups from at least five local government units which conducted benchmarking activities with the city government.
During Megaworld’s media event for the Kingsford Hotel Bacolod development on Tuesday night, Manalili said Bacolod aims to become the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions) capital and the top food tourism hub in Western Visayas as well as to provide tourists a complete travel experience using the convenience of technology. (PNA)