Stakeholders are rallying behind the Department of Tourism to boost “inclusive tourism” in Bacolod City and other localities in the area, in the spirit of the 37th MassKara Festival declared open by President Rodrigo Duterte recently, a press release from DOT said yesterday.
Travel and tour operators, hoteliers, restaurateurs, and community leaders joined officials of DOT, as well as local government unit officials in affirming their support for the government's “tourism-for-all” program spearheaded by Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, it said.
During the colorful festivities, the stakeholders pledged not only to work for the benefit of the poor rural folk but to make tourism more accessible to persons with disability, handicapped, elderly and pregnant women, the press release said.
The consensus dramatizes yet the Filipino resiliency that gave birth to the MassKara Festival almost four decades ago when economic depression hit the sugar capital of the country, DOT assistant secretary Gwen Cads-Javier said.
Javier lauded the local tourism sector, as well as the Bacolod City Council, for the successful staging of the MassKara Festival, which has become a tourism icon that caters to international and domestic tourists.
The DOT official assured that a wide array of projects will reach Bacolod City, known as the City of Smiles.
“These projects include infrastructure along destination routes, ecotourism, agri-aqua tourism, adventure, river boat tours and international cruise tourism in Bacolod, Silay, Talisay and Bago,” Javier said.
She also encouraged tourism-related local establishments to get accreditation by the DOT-Negros Island Region to assure tourists of world-class standards.
“MassKara festival reflects our never-ending spirit of optimism. We anticipate the festival for more color, pageantry and excitement. The festival has likewise become an occasion to reminisce and to reunite as a people, here and from other countries,” Bacolod City Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia said.*
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