BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental provincial government launched its first tourism fair in two years on Monday as it explores other ways to attract more tourists to recover from the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Dubbed the Lakbayanihan Tourism Fair 2022, the event, which runs until May 29, promotes tourism attractions across the province's 32 city and municipal governments, including the capital city of Bacolod.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the participation of almost all local government units is a demonstration and affirmation of the Negrenses’ resilience.
“For two years, we all waited for the day when we can enjoy the different facets of tourism once again. And now, here we are, opening our province to travelers and though carefully and cautiously,” he told local chief executives, tourism officers, and other industry stakeholders during the opening program.
Lacson said Negros Occidental will continue to persevere and will not allow its prospects to be dimmed by the health crisis.
“Fairs like this are good opportunities for you to showcase not just your produce and tourism offerings, but also to show your talent in innovation,” he added.
The governor took pride in Negros Occidental as one of the Philippines' most gifted provinces in terms of natural and human resources.
“We have a vast potential for tourism, food tourism, farm tourism, and even sports tourism. Before the Covid-19 crisis, our tourism industry was advancing and was steadily gaining ground. Let us take that momentum back,” he added.
Earlier, Lacson noted that before the pandemic, Negros Occidental was next to Boracay Island in Aklan in the number of tourists.
Regional Director Cristine Mansinares of the Department of Tourism-Western Visayas (DOT-6) lauded the efforts of Negros Occidental in fully reopening its doors to both domestic and foreign tourists.
“Safety is one of the top considerations of travelers now and our tourism enterprises must adhere to a set of safety standards,” she said.
DOT-6 data showed Negros Occidental and Bacolod City ranking second in terms of the most number of accredited tourism enterprises in Western Visayas with 270.
Among the LGU-participants in the Lakbayanihan Tourism Fair 2022 are Sipalay City, known for its beautiful beaches and breathtaking dive sites; and San Carlos City, with its white sand beaches in Sipaway Island, which are the top two tourist destinations in Negros Occidental.(PNA)