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Negros Oriental targets .5M tourist arrivals in 2024

DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental, January 23 (PIA) -- Negros Oriental is eyeing to surpass last year’s tourist arrivals as it continues to launch various programs to boost the local tourism industry.

For 2024, the Provincial Tourism Office (PTO) said it is targeting .5 million visitors.

This is twice the number of arrivals in 2023 which was 242,982, according to Executive Director Woodrow “RR” Maquiling, Jr. of the Negros Oriental Tourism Management Board.

Negros Oriental welcomed 242,982 tourists from January to November 2023.

This is 128% higher compared to the same period in 2022, which logged 204,164 tourist arrivals based on the tourist influx data.

Maquiling is optimistic in achieving the target of 500,000 tourist arrivals this year, seeing the province’s 2023 feats on tourism performance that contributed to the local economy.

The tourism chief explained that last year’s data would have registered more tourist arrivals if the December visitors who arrived in the province through some ports and inbound scuba dive boats that did not go through the Philippine Ports Authority or airport but through the Philippine Coast Guard were included.

Under the current administration, tourism is one of the priority development agenda with its theme “no destination left behind.”

To increase tourist arrivals, the provincial tourism department will focus on marketing and packaging to boost the local tourism industry in 2024.

Maquiling said to accelerate the influx of tourists, “we will be engaging national tourism organizations like PhilTOA or Philippine Tour Operators Association to help us market or redirect their international client-tourists to visit our tourism destination in the province.”

PTO also plans to open a new campaign in Valencia town dubbed “Wedding Destination of Negros Oriental.”

Valencia already has the necessary facilities to become a known wedding destination in the country.

In time for National Heritage Month in May, the province will host a ‘Kasalang Filipino’ concept at The Barn at the Mango Ranch, a 1,700 square-meter event place in Valencia, said Maquiling.

The province will buy a 25-seater boat worth P3 million for the dolphin watching activity in Vallehermoso town after spinner dolphins were spotted in the area.

This move is in support of the ‘Viaje de Amor’ campaign of the northern tourism circuit which aims to introduce tourism destinations in Canlaon City, Vallehermoso, and Guihulngan City, said Maquiling.

The provincial government also supported local government-initiated tourism infrastructure with the construction of a state-of-the art view deck this year in Canlaon City.

The project worth P50 million will be covered by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
Maquiling also disclosed that the province is developing a tourism package dubbed “Two Festivals in One Trip Program”  to promote the Buglasan Festival of Negros Oriental and Masskara Festival of Bacolod City.

“Mayor Albie Benitez of Bacolod gladly agreed to the idea. With that, we are drafting the MOA between LGUs of Negros Oriental and Bacolod City for this one trip package.” Maquiling said.

The program is scheduled on the third week of October every year since Buglasan falls on the third Friday of October while the Masskara Festival is on the third Sunday of October.

Tourists who will avail of this package can enjoy a four-day cultural extravaganza by staying in Negros Oriental for the Buglasan from Thursday to Friday, then proceed to Bacolod City on Saturday and Sunday for the Masskara. (JCT/PIA7 Negros Oriental)

(L-R) Executive Director Woodrow “RR” Maquiling, Jr. of the Negros Oriental Tourism Management Board and Buglasan Festival Director Glynda Descuatan present the Buglasan Festival 2023 budget appropriation and expenditures to members of the Negros Oriental Tourism Council (NOTC) during the first regular meeting on January 11, 2024 in Dumaguete City. (PIA Negros Oriental)

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Jennifer Tilos


Region 7

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