LEGAZPI CITY, July 23 (PNA) -— Albay, with its rich world-class tourism sites and strong and well organized tourism program, now ranks 7th in the Top 10 “largest overnight (tourist) destinations in the country, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Citing June 2012 figures in her powerpoint presentation at the recent Wellness Expo, 8th International Trade and Travel and 4TH Culinary Tourism at the Skydome of SM North Edsa, DOT Market Development Director Cynthia Lazo said Albay has vaulted from the sidelines and broke into DOT’s Top Ten largest overnight destinations.
Lazo said Metro Manila was highest in the ranking with 974, 379 arrivals, followed by Boracay Island, 702,798; Cebu City, 613,279; Lapu-lapu City, 396,289; Puerto Princesa, 359,320; Baguio City, 338,992; Albay, 290,845; Batangas, 281,243; Cagayan de Oro City, 200,295; and Davao City,184,362.
Trailing the leaders were Bohol, 171,823 arrivals; Iloilo City, 152,377; Clark, 151,454; and Negros Oriental, 150,067.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said their own culinary presentations at the expo, from three towns and a private entrepreneur, all under the umbrella of Culinaria Albay tourism program — Colonial Grill’s now famous Chili Ice Cream, Longaniza de Guinobatan, the Oas Puto and the Camalig Pinangat — were instant blockbusters.
Culinaria Albay was launched by Salceda in 2011 to highlight and develop the province’s rich ethnic cuisines and new and original concoctions.
Salceda said Albay aims to climb further up to possibly fourth, with its “Warm Albay, Warm People” theme, the 2015 completion of the Daraga International Airport, the construction of more resort-hotels, recruitment of more chefs to evolve the province’s cuisine for culinary tourism, and more well organized nightlife.
Salceda has set a goal of one million tourists by 2017. Albay was declared the country’s fastest growing destination in 2012, posting a record of nearly 50 percent tourist arrivals. The ITB Berlin international fair featured the province in February, the first local government unit accorded the honor.
He said Albay expects a surge of more visitors starting July, with a familiarization tour of a group from the Philippine Tourism Association, which lately declared the province its 2013 Summer Destination.
During the Skydome expo, Salceda said the Philippine Travel Agencies Association has also scheduled a familiarization tour in Albay, the 7th so far this year, under the province’s Pasyaran 2013 tourism program.
Albay never runs out of festivals the whole year round, under its Planet Festival project. In July alone, it staged two festivities; Paroy and Lubid festivals in the towns of Libon and Malilipot, respectively.