Tourism development, to bolster inclusive growth for Bicol – Salceda

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Whaleshark "Butanding". Photo courtesy Wikipilipinas.org
Whaleshark “Butanding”. Photo courtesy Wikipilipinas.org

LEGAZPI CITY, 2Oct2013 (PIA) – Bicol must focus on tourism development as primary strategy to achieve economic growth.

Bicol Regional Development Council (RDC) chair and Albay Governor Jose “Joey” Salceda told the plenary of the first ever Bicol Regional Tourism Summit held at Oriental Hotel here that tourism will definitely take a crucial role in the region’s pursuit for inclusive and horizontal growth that will benefit not only big tourism investors such as hotel and resort owners and operators but also the people in the countryside where most of tourist destinations are located by providing more opportunities for employment and business ventures.

“Other services and small-scale businesses such as transport, souvenir shops, handicrafts and the like are created as tourism activities intensify in an area, while large scale tourism stakeholders are needed to expand to include employment for common people such as housekeeping and food services,” he added.

Department of Tourism (DOT) executives, local government executives, tourism officials and tourism industry stakeholders gathered here last week in the two-day Bicol’s tourism summit.

Salceda identified at least four industries that ensure horizontal and inclusive economic growth in the Philippines among which that he considers as topping the list is the tourism industry. The other industries in Salceda’s list are agriculture, housing and trading.

On the same occasion, Salceda highlighted Bicol’s unique culture, cuisine, natural wonders including Bicolano’s resilience developed with their ability to endure natural calamities and disasters are endearing factors that attracts tourists.

“Bicolanos are naturally good-hearted and has the ability to surrender themselves to the forces of nature and higher being,” Salceda said.

He also mentioned that Bicol’s distinct flavor in its cuisine is worth promoting as one tourism tool though culinary expositions similar to the Bicol Travel and Food Expo (BITFEX).

“We must take care of nature, this is what sustains our tourism industry,” Salceda added.

Salceda is a noted and respected economist in the country and among the pioneering batch of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) Bicol’s Gayon Bicol Awardees for Tourism Champions category.

It can be noted that Salceda has initiated the organization of the Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon Tourism Alliance (Almasorta) that has embarked on a more integrated and comprehensive promotion strategy to market the potentials of the three Bicol province.

The alliance is a pioneering concept in tourism promotion strategy and was initiated to ensure a stronger and more cohesive tourism campaign among the three provinces, which all have their inherent world class tourism potentials that needed better market positioning and promotion.

“The future of the Philippines is Bicol, and the future of Bicol is tourism,” Salceda said upon receiving the Gayon Bicol Award for Tourism Champions conferred to him during the awards night of the same day. (MAL/JJJP-PIA5/Albay)

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