Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia has directed the Bacolod City Tourism Council to come up with alternative plans and programs to boost tourism in the city with the recent developments in the world, especially in the Middle East and Japan, former Bacolod Rep. John Orola said yesterday.
He said the mayor wants to tap Korea, China and the ASEAN countries, who are capable of sending tourists to the Philippines.
Orola, who was designated by the mayor as chairman of the Tourism Council, said the Council will launch the Balik Bacolod program in May to lure balikbayans from the United States to come and visit, and even invest in Bacolod.
He said the program will run from 2011 to 2012. However, they will not limit the program to the US market alone, but will invite Bacoleños who are in Europe, he added.
Orola said they are preparing tour packages for them since Bacolod has a lot of attractions to offer.
He said that, aside from manmade and cultural attractions, the government center, and some old houses, Bacolod can also offer culinary tours, and is a jump-off point to Mambukal. Cockfighting and sugar plantations can also be tourist attractions, he added.
Orola said they hope to convene the Tourism Council next week and come up with very specific programs. They are targeting May 12 for the continuing arrival of tourists from abroad, he said.
They also plan to invite the Indian market and he said he will be in India March 31 to April 4, since the Philippine Airlines has come up with its inaugural flight for India on the last week of March, Orola said.
He said Tourism Undersecretary Daniel Corpuz is asking if Bacolod is ready to receive Indian tourists.
He said there is a big potential and high yielding market in some parts of India. And they are proposing to Indian travel agents, who will come and visit and inspect Bacolod, that they include the city in their itinerary, he added.
Orola said he informed them that there is a big Indian community in Bacolod and “I believe that the Indian community will be very happy to help us in this promotion,” he added.*CGS