Albay Tourist Destinations
"We expect another 40 percent growth in arrivals this year," Briones said, citing the increased capacity of the accommodation
Foreign visitors such as Korean families as well as domestic travellers such as college students from Pampanga province, were arriving by plane in Legaspi City even during the lean season in August for sighting of the imposing Mayon volcano, which is considered as the most beautiful in the world.
Newly built and expanded hotels in Legazpi City are now able to accommodate large delegation of tourists and even convention participants.
He said the increased tourism in Albay will help Bicol's gross regional domestic product to expand by 12.3 percent in 2010, after posting an 8.2 percent growth last year, which was the fastest among the country's 17 regions.
Salceda is banking on tourism as a major growth driver in 2010, and he said the expected visit of Hollywood actor Leonardo di Caprio in September will further cement the status of Albay as a major tourist destination.
Di Caprio will reportedly stay at the luxurious Misibis Bay Resort, built by the company of construction magnate Elizaldy Co, who also owns Venezia and St. Ellis Hotels.
Genesis Hotels and Resorts Corp. manages the three accommodation facilities in Albay.
Co bought another property near the international airport in Daraga to build another hotel overlooking the awe-inspiring Mayon volcano, which is the main attraction in the province.
Briones said more hotels and resorts are also being planned in the province to take advantage of rising visitor arrivals, with the growing popularity of Mayon watching as well as whale shark interaction in the nearby town of Donsol in Sorsogon.
Major destinations in Albay include the Cagsawa Ruins and the 18th century Our Lady of the Gate Parish in Daraga, Liñgon Hills, and Cagraray Island.