Fast Rising Tourist Spots in the Philippines 4

Clark as Asia’s next ‘aerotropolis’

There is increasing urgency to develop Clark International Airport into an aviation hub, according to a report by Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“The Case for Asia’s Next Aerotropolis” is the theme of the Clark Aviation Conference 2013, a trade gathering that will examine Clark’s compelling case as an aerotropolis, an idea in community planning where airports serve as the centre for new cities growing around them.

Sorsogon gets more tourists

Sorsogon posted a 31 percent increase in visitor arrivals in 2012, which local tourists numbering 151,323 and foreign tourists reaching 22,377, for a total of 132,696, according to a report by BusinessMirror.

 “The Kasanggayahan Festival in October and the Sorsogon Festival in December are traditionally huge crowd drawers,” Sorosogon provincial tourism officer Cristina J. Racelis said.

The butanding (whale shark) in Donsol, Bulusan Lake in Bulusan; the mangrove formations in Prieto Diaz; and hot springs in Irosin are among the major tourist spots in the province, she said. 

Aside from the butanding, international guests, mostly Europeans, visit Donsol for firefly watching at night at the Ogod river bank, the tourism officer said. This encourages visitors to make an overnight stay in the town, she said.

Many also came to visit the pinkish sand in Subic Beach in Matnog last year, she said.

Albay tourist arrivals up 24 percent

Albay posted a 24-percent increase in tourist arrivals in the first half of 2012 over the same period in 2011, according to a report by Manila Standard Today.

Some 290,845 foreign and local tourist visited Albay in the first and second quarters of 2012, a hefty jump from the 234,081 arrivals posted over the same period in 2011.   

Albay Governor Joey Salceda pushed for stronger Albay tourism-oriented initiatives.  Among the future projects of the province are the PhP27-million Mayon Skyline Convention Centre in Tabaco City, the PhP40-million rehabilitation and Improvement of the Cagsawa Park and Resort in Daraga, the PhP60-million Agri-Etno Ecotourism Village in Camalig, and the PhP35-million improvement of public plazas.

Bataan tourism estate

The Authority of the Freeport in Bataan (AFAB) is studying a proposal from LKY Development Corp. to lease, redevelop, operate and manage existing tourism facilities within the free port area of the province for the next 25 years, according to a report by Manila Standard Today.

LKY committed to put up an initial investment of PhP300 million for the redevelopment of about 4.9 hectares of tourism facilities within the Freeport.  The redevelopment will include the restoration and refurbishment of the four-storey Hilltop Hotel, golf course, shopping centre, auditorium and other amenities.

Davao Oriental, Kalinga as tourism zones

President Benigno Aquino III has signed a new law that aims to boost tourism in Kalinga and Davao Oriental provinces, according to a report by BusinessWorld.  The laws declared the two provinces as Tourism Development Areas (TDA), which would pave the way for infrastructure improvements and more private sector involvement in the tourism sector.

The law, Republic Act (RA) No. 10560 identified several areas in Davao Oriental, as TDAs, including "municipalities endowed with natural beauty, small islands, waterfalls, beaches, sea and mountain resources, historical and natural landmarks, indigenous communities and other areas of interest to the tourism industry."

It also declared TDAs in the Kalinga province, in northern Luzon, as potential sites for trekking and white water rafting as well as historical areas in the municipalities of Tinglayan, Tanudan, Balbalan, Pinukpuk, Pasil and Rizal.

Provinces declared as TDAs can expect the government to strengthen infrastructure in the region. Private firms are also given the go-signal to develop the tourism sector in the province by allowing them to create tour packages and identify investment opportunities.

There are about 80 declared TDAs in the country, according to the Philippine National Tourism Development Plan 2011-2016.

Enchanted Kingdom expands

Enchanted Kingdom Inc., operator of the country’s largest theme park, will double its site in Laguna province and offer more attractions to draw more local and foreign visitors, according to a report by Manila Standard Today.

Enchanted Kingdom COO Cynthia Mamon said the company is looking at doubling its current 15-hectare site to at least 30 hectares over the next three to five years.  “We’re doing the masterplan for now. We are designing it already so as soon as the designs are made before the end of the year, then we’re ready,” she said.

She said the expansion would include putting up a hotel and more rides.  “Definitely the expansion plan is gradual. The plans should be made by this year and we should have a one major attraction next year. This one is really something we’re very proud of,” she said.

Ms. Mamon said the hotel would be built in the next two to three years. “Development is phasing and will take like three to five years,” she said.  The theme park, which was built at a cost of PhP1.2 billion, opened to the public in October 1995.  It has been attracting an average of two million visitors, mostly locals, annually.  “We need to do more to attract foreign tourists,” she said.

Tourism conference in Mindanao

The provincial governments of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat are preparing for the 1st South Mindanao Tourism Investment Conference (Tourism iCon) in September 2013 in a bid to attract more investors to support the two provinces’ tourism industry, according to a report by BusinessWorld.

The Tourism iCon is targeting businessmen willing to venture into tourism facilities, services, transportation and communication.

The area is best known for the picturesque upland town of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, a town with three inland lakes and seven waterfalls, with adventure zip lines aside from cultural and other natural destinations. Sultan Kudarat is known for the Baras Bird Sanctuary in Tacurong Citry and other natural destinations such as hot springs. 

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