LOCAL ATTRACTION. A portion of Divinubo Island in Borongan City, Eastern Samar. The recent pronouncement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to promote tourism in less developed areas should be a signal for Eastern Visayas to review tourism product offerings, an official of the Department of Tourism (DOT) said on Wednesday (July 27, 2022). (Photo from Borongan City Tourism Office FB page)

TACLOBAN CITY – The recent pronouncement of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to promote tourism in less developed areas should be a signal for Eastern Visayas to review tourism product offerings, an official of the Department of Tourism (DOT) said on Wednesday.

DOT Eastern Visayas regional director said tourism stakeholders should make sure that sites, activities, facilities, and services are tourist-ready.

“We should also ascertain that what we offer is what the tourism markets are looking for. We also need to strengthen tourism governance so we can provide a competitive edge and enhance the business climate in the region to promote more investments in accordance with the thrust of the President,” Tiopes said in a phone interview.

“The ball is now in the hands of the industry stakeholders from the local governments, private sector, community-based tourism organizations, and the DOT. Let’s take on that challenge and push forward,” Tiopes added.

In his State of the Nation Address on Monday, Marcos enjoined his tourism and public works chief to make it more convenient for travelers to go around the country and provide them easier access to remote areas and undiscovered tourist spots.

"To boost our tourism industry, we will first and foremost make basic developments such as road improvements for easier access to tourism spots. We will also upgrade our airports and create more international airports to help decongest the bottleneck at the Manila International Airport," he said.

For Northern Samar tourism officer Josette Doctor, the President’s pronouncement is a welcome development since accessibility is very crucial.

“Upgrading of existing roads, enhancing of trails, opening of roads leading to potential or existing sites will surely boost visitations. Air accessibility is equally important as it shortens the travel time of tourists especially those that have limited vacation time,” Doctor told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Doctor pointed out that additional flights should also be pushed for destinations that host only one airline and which flight frequency is grossly limited to only a couple of days a week.

“Like in Catarman, we have only Philippine Airlines that service passengers from Manila and flies only twice weekly, with an exuberant fare. A small aircraft that carries only about 80 passengers versus a bigger one that carries about 300 participants have almost same operational cost. Upgrading airports to cater to bigger aircraft would be a welcome development," he added.

The official noted that of the three regions in the Visayas, only Eastern Visayas has no international airport, a setback in the campaign to invite more foreign tourists. (PNA)