LEGAZPI CITY, March 1– Like a broken record, the press information on Albay tourism bets high hope on visitors mostly from the Chinese mainland.
One Chinese tourism agent confirms that his company have selected Albay as a tourism destination for the meantime. Terrence Fang of Yueqiho International Travel Agency recalled that some 200 tourists, mostly families, planed in directly from China via the Legazpi domestic airport in time for the Chinese New Year here. The tourists stayed at the Misibis Bay for five days and four nights and left on Tuesday.
The trickle of Chinese tourists in the region, very noticeable in Albay province, began last year after the Department of Tourism’s Bicol director Maria Ong-Ravanilla, joined in partnership with Elizaldy S. Co, of Sunwest Group of Companies.
Ravanilla said China is the largest market for tourists who could greatly help in the economic growth of Bicol.
It must be recalled that the Legazpi City domestic airport was upgraded as an international gateway for chartered flights in time for an inaugural flight from Xiamen, China, carrying 156 tourists on January 30, 2014.
Co, said Chinese, Korean, European and American tourists are coming to Albay as evidenced by hotel occupancy data. He owns several hotels in Legazpi City, the Midas Hotel in Manila and the Misibis Bay Resort and Casino in Cagraray island of Bacacay.
Ravanilla said they are targeting one million foreign tourists in Bicol as their contribution to country’s target of 10 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2016.
She said that among the six provinces of Bicol, Albay ranked first in foreign tourist arrivals recorded for the last three years while Camarines Sur had the highest number of domestic visitors.
After the three-month series of direct flights last year from Xiamen to Legazpi City and vice-versa, today Chinese tourists from Guangzhou, the capital and largest city of south central Chinese Guangdong province, have selected Legazpi City as their new destination.
The promising Bicol tourism herre is eyeing Shanghai and Incheon City in Korea for direct flights in the coming months. (with Yhaydz B. Barcia)