Rock formations in Marabut, Samar are among the less popular destinations in the Visayas, which the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. included for promotion. (photo from FB page of Marabut Tourism)
TACLOBAN CITY – The operator of Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) vowed to promote less popular tourist destinations in Eastern Visayas.
Aines Librado, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMAC) head for airlines marketing and tourism development, said part of their marketing plan is to introduce unexplored destinations to travelers.
“Eastern Visayas is a beautiful place, yet most of the places are still unexplored and worth promoting,” Librado said during the sales mission here on Saturday.
The sales mission is one of the GMAC’s marketing initiatives to keep tourism stakeholders, particularly travel and tour operators, informed of the recent developments of MCIA.
The event highlights the many destinations and the convenience that it offers to passengers who will use the airport as their transit point.
“Every time we go out of the country and promote Mactan-Cebu International Airport, we always tell them that there are other places outside Cebu that are worth exploring,” Librado said.
“We want them to go to places that are not popular yet because we wanted that when they go back to their country they can share it to their family and friends,” Librado added.
Librado said based on their record, Korean tourists remain to be the top visitor in the central Philippines with more than 2,000 arrivals every year or an average of 20 percent increase a year. This is followed by Japanese tourists, Northern Americans, Australians and Europeans.
The top performer in tourist arrivals are the Chinese, which in the first three quarters of 2018 reached a total of 972,550, spurring high-speed growth of 34.9 percent.
The Chinese tourist arrival is a big leap from a zero arrival three years ago, Librado said.
“If you see the number of tourist coming from these countries, their population is huge and most of them only visit Cebu and Bohol. We always tell them that there are other destinations that are worth exploring,” Librado said.
Aside from Chinese tourists, the MCIA is marketing the airport to Indian tourists to make Cebu as their gateway to the Philippines.
Tacloban is the regional center of Eastern Visayas, home to 4.4 million people in six provinces.
The city’s airport has five daily trips to Cebu. The Tacloban Airport is among the top 10 performers for Cebu domestic traffic with more than 198,000 passengers in 2018 or a 40 percent increase compared to the previous year.
“As the gateway for Samar and Leyte that is blessed with many tourist destinations yet most are not yet explored, we want to contribute in extending and communicating to our foreign market the destinations in the region because they are worth promoting,” Librado said.
Among the top tourist destinations in Eastern Visayas are Kalanggaman Island in Palompon, Leyte; Biri Rock Formation in Biri, Northern Samar; Southern Leyte for its diving sites, Cuatro Islas in Inopacan and Hindang towns and Linta-on Peak in Baybay City.
Other frequently visited destinations are Extreme Torpedo Boat Ride in Paranas, Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge in Basey, Rock Formation in Marabut town, Minasangay Eco-Marine Park in Balangkayan and Lake Danao in Ormoc City. (PNA)