source: florencio p. narito | bicolmail.com
LEGAZPI CITY —The Bicol tourism industry has remained bullish despite the adverse travel advisories issued by foreign countries like the United States, Australia, and Canada, Tourism Regional Director Maria Ong Ravanilla said in a telephone interview yesterday.
She said that the hostage crisis that claimed the lives of eight Hong Kong tourists in Manila recently and reports about incidents of violence and disorder in other areas did not deter foreign tourists and Balikbayans from visiting the Bicol region.
In fact, out of curiosity these tourists came to the Bicol region to prove their country’s advisories wrong, Ravanilla said.
She revealed that during the recent Peñafrancia Festival last September some 3 million Marian devotees came to Naga City for the 300th devotion to Ina.
Many of those who had attended the religious festival were Balikbayans and their friends.
Ravanilla said that Camarines Sur and Naga City have remained No.1 in tourist arrivals in the Bicol region posting an improvement of 135 percent over last year’s statistics.
She said that during the 3rd quarter of the year some 768,167 tourists had actually visited Naga and Camarines Sur as tourists, staying in hotels and lodging houses.
Meanwhile, Ravanilla reported that Albay and Legazpi City ranked No. 2 in tourist arrivals. For the 3rd quarter of this year, Albay and Legazpi City posted a total of 73,056 tourist arrivals from 35,105 for the same period last year.
Over all, the Bicol region is No. 2 among the 15 regions when it comes to tourist arrivals.
Ravanilla attributed this growth in the Bicol tourism industry to the concerted efforts of local government units and the private sector who have invested much in putting up hotels, restaurants, and beach resorts.
She also acknowledged the role of the Department of Tourism (DOT) with the help of the media in promoting local tourism nationally and internationally.