“We have proven that Bacolod City has the potential and capacity to bring in tourists,” Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said upon learning that the city ranked second to Boracay in terms of foreign tourist arrivals in Western Visayas in 2017.
That is definitely good news, he said, adding that this should serve as an inspiration and encouragement for them to work harder together so more tourists will come.
“We believe that the more tourists we have, the better for our economy,” Leonardia said.
He believes in the projection that tourism is going to become the biggest industry in the world, he said.
So he plans to revive his tourism program in the past called “A Tourist is a Friend,” he added.
Leonardia said they have included in their program for 2018 a series of lectures that will help inculcate in the hearts and minds of people particularly the students, the theme “Love koang Bacolod (I love Bacolod).”
“We want our people to have that sense of pride, participation and belonging, wherein we should have cooperation and be able to take care of our tourists,” he said.
So he is calling for the support and cooperation of the public from the taxi and trisikad drivers, to the hotel and restaurant industry, because their target is to increase the number of tourists coming to Bacolod, the mayor said.
Leonardia said Bacolod has now a bigger budget than Iloilo and this is an indicator of the dynamism of its economy. They believe they have restored business confidence.
Among the factors he considers which have contributed to the increase in tourist arrivals are the additional accommodation facilities, the airport, and that overall, Bacolod is generating very good publicity because of the positive developments happening in the city, he said.
“That's why I say we are on the roll. We have been awarded as Most Business-Friendly and Top Model City,” he added.
Leonardiasaid he gives the credit to the people. “If our people are tourist-friendly that is a big factor.”
It isimportant that they should have the attitude that every tourist counts and everybody is just as important as anybody, he said.
Based on partial data from the Department of Tourism Region 6, Aklan City where Boracay Island is located, had 898,914 foreign tourist arrivals in 2017, while Bacolod City had 69,337.
Bacolod Tourism Officer Elma Gerasmo yesterday said the domestic tourist arrivals in Bacolod City from January to November 2016 was 470,799 and foreign tourist arrivals was 44,582 including 716 overseas Filipinos and 176 non-residents or a total of 516,272.
In 2017, there were 692,513 domestic tourist arrivals and 69,337 foreign tourist arrivals in Bacolod City, or a total of 761,850 covering the same period, she said.*CGS
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