An upsurge of foreign tourists is expected in Negros Occidental in the first quarter of this year, provincial tourism officer Cristine Mansinares said yesterday.
Groups from Canada and Malaysia, as well as tourists escaping winter in their countries are arriving, she said.
In the first week of February about 250 Fil-Canadians will be in Negros Occidental for three days as part of the 5 th Winter Escapade promoted by the Department of Tourism, Mansinares said.
The Negros Occidental provincial government will hold a Governor's Night on Feb. 6 to welcome the Fil-Canadians, most of whom are retirees with the oldest aged 91, at the Capitol grounds in Bacolod, she added.
During the Governor's Night, a bazaar, which will showcase products of small and medium enterprises, will be set up at Capitolgrounds for the Canadian visitors, in partnership with the Association of Negros Producers, Mansinares, said.
The Fil-Canadians also want to visit beaches and cultural sites in Negros Occidental, and taste Negrense food, she added.
The Winter Escapade is geared towards attracting not only Filipino-Canadians but also other foreign tourists to see and visit the various destinations in the Philippines and discover the beauty of the islands, Mansinares said.
It is also geared to encourage Filipino-Canadians and foreign tourists to invest in the Philippines, particularly in tourism related projects, she said.
Canadians spend more than $35 billion annually while travelling outside the country, she also pointed out.
A Malaysian group of 15, that will include celebrities and media people, who are joining the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo will also be in Negros Occidental Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, Mansinares said.
They are on a familiarization tour with direct flights nowavailable between Kuala Lumpur and Iloilo, she added.
Resort owners and other tourism-related establishments are also preparing for an influx of visitors from winter-hit countries, with the number expected to increase every week, she said.
The DOT is also expected to include Negros Occidental in its mega familiarization tour for lifestyle writers that will cover 8 regions, Mansinares said.*CPG
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