Thursday, June 13, 2024

Tour Operators To Promote Negros Oriental Emerging Tourism Destinations


Tour Operators To Promote Negros Oriental Emerging Tourism Destinations


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The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) is pushing for new tourism attractions in Negros Oriental, particularly the world-renowned dive destination Apo Island, to bring in more local and foreign visitors.

Mary Ann Ong, PHILTOA second vice president and general manager (inbound) of Bridges Travel and Tours, in an interview on Thursday said the group’s visit to Negros Oriental last month would help them promote the province on a different level.

“As the leading tour operators’ association (in the Philippines), we try to help emerging destinations, promote what is new and what can be offered to local and international tourists (in Negros Oriental),” Ong said.

She said that while Negros Oriental is famous for scuba diving on Apo Island, other areas are potentially viable for tourism expansion, especially the ones that could attract non-divers.

She also lamented the need to “re-promote” Apo Island among local tourists, adding that foreigners are more knowledgeable about it.

Food tourism is another thing that can be expanded as well considering the diverse and wide array of local and international cuisines that are offered in this capital city, as well as in other areas frequented by tourists, she said.

Some 20 PHILTOA members and media practitioners from the national capital are in Negros Oriental as part of the province’s tourism promotions, said Provincial Tourism Executive Director Woodrow Maquiling Jr.

He said the province is hopeful that PHILTOA could help the provincial government ramp up the number of tourists coming to Negros Oriental as it is now recovering from the slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the new destinations that the PHILTOA group will be visiting is dolphin-watching in Vallehermoso town, which is the farthest municipality up north, he said.

Governor Manuel Sagarbarria is set to turn over a tourist motorboat to the Vallehermoso to kickstart the dolphin-watching activities there, he added.

Meanwhile, Maquiling disclosed that the province has logged more than 142,000 tourists, both local and foreign during the first quarter of the year.

“We are targeting 500,000 tourists to come to Negros Oriental in 2024 and if you divide that by four quarters, each quarter would only require 125,000 individuals,” he said. (PNA)