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August 6, 2007

Dept hails local units for strong focus
The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) regional office hailed a greater number of local government units (LGUs) for making tourism their centrepiece program for development in the Bicol region.

"From a very few local chief executives working with the DOT to carry out programs and projects, we have now a great number that are always ready to put their share in various endeavours," DOT regional director Maria Ong-Ravanilla said.

She said the cities of Legazpi, Naga, Iriga, Sorsogon, Masbate, Tabaco and Ligao are enjoying the effects of tourism.

Ravanilla explained that this development in the Bicol region is part of Central Philippines Super Regions concept. "We are happy to note that local elected officials are working together to make Bicol a premier tourist destination." The influx of people moving in and out of these places has increased and had been one of the indicators used in the establishment of big businesses.

"Resorts and hotels rise in numbers and ambiances in hostelry and entertainment are made better and better each year," she noted. Facilities in the region are reasonable good and are available. The Bicol region now has 288 accommodation establishments for 4,420 rooms, much higher than in 1999.

At a minimum, Albay can accommodate 2,348 persons per day and a maximum of 4,500 persons per day. "This is a fairly good number to host national events and this will clearly show that Bicol is very much ready for the influx of tourists," Ravanilla stressed.

Tourist arrivals to the region have increased since 2000 with total visitor arrivals of 637,127 in 2006, up sharply over 2005 foreign tourist arrivals. For 2006, domestic tourists top the list of visitors in Bicol and foreign tourists have been logged as: Japan, United States of America, Taiwan, Australia and Germany.

The distribution of Bicol region to Philippine tourist arrivals increased by 5.38% from 3.62% in 2004 to 4.01% in 2006. In 2004, Bicol ranked 9th and leaped to 7th in 2006, coming after Davao. Employment increased in 2006 from 32,867 in 2005 to 165,614 in 2006.

Ravanilla also added that tourism stakeholders should strengthen and enhance the accommodation, communication, entertainment, security and service delivery of the region particularly in areas with ongoing tourism development. PNA


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