LEGAZPI CITY – The head of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Bicol said that the tourism industry in the region remains stable despite adverse travel advisories from China and other countries after the bloody hostage drama last Aug. 23 at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.
DOT Regional Director Maria Ong-Ravanilla said that tourism in the region is holding steady so far.
“We are closely monitoring all local and foreign arrivals throughout the Bicol region and there has been no reported room cancellations so far,” she said.
Ravanilla said that in response to the instructions of Regional Development Council (RDC) Chairman and Albay Governor Joey Salceda, the DOT is continuously monitoring the situation to assess the impacts of the bloody crisis on tourism and make periodic updates.
In her report Tuesday (Aug. 31), hotel occupancy in Albay is at 57 percent for the period August 23-31, which is normal for a lean period.
Still, the tourism official noted that it is actually an improvement since there has been an increase of available rooms in Misibis and St. Ellis hotels, as well us other hotels and resorts here.
In Camarines Sur and Naga City, hotel occupancy is around 80 percent, mainly due to the Penafrancia month.
Ravanilla also said that proper coordination between the local government units and Philippine National Police (PNP) is properly being observed to ensure the security of tourists.
She assured that “Bicol region is a safe place to visit, as well as other tourist destinations in the country.”
“What happened in Quirino Grandstand is an isolated case,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, Governor Salceda said that upon the request of Bicol University president Ma Fay Patria Lauraya, security arrangement have been made to assure the safety of the 175 participants to the 4th International Conference of Associations of Rural Sociologists (ARSA) scheduled on Sept. 7 to 10 in Bicol University.
“As a long term measure, I have also ordered the Albay Provincial Tourism Office to regularly coordinate with the PNP provincial office and municipal police stations on tourist movements in the province,” Salceda said.
A handy directory of key contact numbers shall also be prepared and made available at hotels.
For his part, Albay provincial safety and emergency management office (APSEMO) chief Cedric Daep said that being the provincial department coordinating with the PNP and the Armed Forcesa of the Philippines (AFP), his office will set the protocols for tourists during emergencies. – PNA