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By Mike De la Rama
The Province of Albay is the fastest rising tourist destination in Bicol region, data released by the Department of Tourism (DOT) here show. Foreign tourists in Albay grew by 17,347 or 51 percent against 11,609 or 18 percent for Camarines Sur. Albay now has 51,087 foreign tourists versus Camsur’s 74,771 despite a much more limited tourism budget. Notwithstanding weather disturbances, during first quarter of 2011, Albay submitted the highest total growth in tourists at 41 percent against Bicol at more than 16 percent and Camarines Sur at 17 percent.
Photo by Lili Tabada
Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the provincial government maintained that its proactive disaster risk reduction (DRR) sent a strong message that Albay was safe for tourists, traders, investors and its own people.
“That is common sense minimum requirement for a tourist to come.”
Albay focuses on sustained less pompous yet innovative approach to tourism promotion, through positioning itself two-way: ecotourism harnessing its iconic natural endowments and gateway to other Bicol destinations – Donsol (in Sorsogon) and Camarines Sur Watersports Complex (CWC).
It also focuses on investment-driven flows essentially private investments in new capacity and new attractions; sustained advertising in significant niche (almost monthly cover of Smile (Cebu Pacific) since October 2010 to April 2011, now Mabuhay Magazine (PAL) and special features (mainly by Bernard Supetran); sustained yet rising crescendo in Magayon Festival as one month of projection of Albay’s as a tourism destination; and hosting of national conferences both by the City of Legazpi and the provincial government.
On regional distribution of travelers during the first quarter this year, Albay had a total of 121,867 domestic and foreign tourists; Camarines Norte – 43,765; Camarines Sur – 406,036; Sorsogon – 32,295; Masbate – 45,472; and Catanduanes – 36,322.
The United States was the leading market with 28,960 total guests in the region, followed by the United Kingdom – 12,408; South Korea – 12, 127; Germany – 9,174; Australia – 7,637; Canada – 6,763; Holland – 6,310; Thailand – 4,975; Denmark – 4,918; and China 4,811.
DOT regional director Maria Nini Ravanilla said that the laudable increase of tourist arrivals was a result of the non-stop promotion of the provincial government both here and abroad. “Albay is very accessible by land, sea and air transportation.”
Ravanilla said that transportation facility was very important in the promotion of tourism industry. (PNA)